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The Wines

100% Syrah (1930s) from around La Chapelle on the poor loess, fine granite soils of L’Ermite, rather late harvesting, destemmed, 4 week vinification at up to 30-32°C in open tronconic oak vat, 1-2 daily cap punchings, aged 30-40% new, 60-70% 1-year 228-litre oak casks 18-20 months, unfiltered, organic wine, first wine 1996, 5,000 b


(cask) dark, full red robe; the bouquet gives a little mystery, room for imagination, has a sweet plum tone with a soft fragrance rather like Lapsang Souchong tea, a note of cedar, blueberry. Shades of ripe Pomerol, perhaps. The palate engages well, is a cerebral wine with nuances and nudges along its path, nothing flash and obvious. There are outcrops of mineral and grain within, and it has really handled the high sun well. The one clue to that is the stuffing, its padded depth, but the room for detail is most welcome. Its trump card is its elegance, with all the sureness of depth. From 2025-26, decant it. 2048-50 Dec 2020

2018 ()

(cask) dark, inky robe; the bouquet shows grilling, a solid mound of black fruits, damp moss, a musky-floral note as well. The palate is most tasty, suffused with steady, rolling waves of mulberry, dark red berry fruits, lip smacking tannins on board. It ends with a compact richness, good length. This has style, parades the suavity and fineness of good Hermitage via its pleasing texture and engaging, liberal juice. Decant it. From 2023-24. 2050-52 Nov 2019


(casks) dark robe; the nose has an air of dampness, hence a cool mineral setting, with some red meat, is furnished with mild red berry fruits such as mulberry, is only just staring out. The palate works well on its suave texture, the dark red fruit refined, agreeably persistent, leading into a firm, clear close. The aftertaste brings in darker fruits such as cassis with well seasoned oak. This will be stylish. From 2022. 2045-48 Dec 2018


two samples 1) ***(*) (cask) dark red robe. The bouquet has a tangy lead note, a sense of copper-mineral on top of its mix of blackberries and violets. The palate has a lithe freshness, moves with trim gras richness, has mild tannins still on the outside. It is a Steady Operator. There is a cool theme along it, and the aftertaste reflects that – a menthol, rocky grip there, the length sound. It is in a spartan state at present. I wonder how fresh this sample is. From 2020. 2031-33 Nov 2017 2) **** (cask) smoky nose, rocky tang, fluid content on the palate, with marked mineral lining on the finish. This is ****.  There is a floral scent in its red fruits, some intricacy that is appealing. With the hail, it was a very tricky vintage on L’Ermite this year. From spring 2020. 2033-35 Nov 2017 Previously Apr 2017 ****(*) (cask) dark red with mauve touches in the robe. Has a ripe, raisiny aroma, a heart of raspberry with a liqueur association. It’s a sturdy start, more so than many Ermites due to the low yield and its concentrating effect. It is grounded at base, not airborne. The palate glides very well with most tasty, delightful fruit that is caressing in texture. It flows well, with a close on fine powder tannins, a good shape to it throughout. The fruit lifts well as it closes – red fruits. Time will help to prise it open. Decanting advised. A tiny 10 hl/ha this year, in the eye of the storm. From 2022. 2039-42 Apr 2017 GB £958.92 per 6 b in bond, £323.87 per magnum in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk


(cask) black, purple robe. The nose is well balanced, promising – lines of small dark berries are all well presented, a harmonious display by them, with secure inner ripeness. This bouquet will indeed bulge out of the glass. The palate is broad, sustained, extremely rich, a pile of ripe content present. It ends on a toffee-oak accompanied ripeness. I find it less precise and beguiling than L’Hermite usually, more on full strength than a deft array of nuances: the vintage will dominate over its terroir for some years to come. There are pockets of coolness through it, oak on the finish. It is worth a long wait. From 2024. 2045-48 GB £841.26 per 6 b in bond, £284.35 per magnum in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk Apr 2016


(casks) dark robe. An inky aroma comes through on the front nose – prune, with blueberry, a little inlay of sweetness from the crop ripeness and depth. The palate is mineral flecked, with violets, gusto, flair. This really grabs the attention and the taste buds – it is a wine of dynamic qualities. Joy in the glass! I want more. The fruit and texture are wonderfully smooth as well as purposeful. It is complex, has hidden corners, is Grand Vin. Decant. The Mighty Hill speaks with authority here. From 2019. 2037-40 GB £774/6 bots in bond Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com GB £750/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Jan 2015 

2012 ()

dark, comfortable robe. The nose has an easy roundness, a wee note of chicken stock present, fluid black berry fruit, offers effortless appeal. There is slight air of rubbed stones, their warmth. The palate is neatly concentrated in a free fruit, smooth ball of black berry and prune; it isn’t showing obvious nuance today. A little late meatiness comes into play, adding depth. The fruit is stylish, has very winning juice in it. From  mid-2016. Subtly complex. 2028-30  Nov 2013


dark colour. There is attractive scenting in the blackberry, also blueberry fruit aroma that comes with an oak-charcoal tang, a note of polished leather, and black cherry humming along – good fruiting on the nose here. The palate offers a roll of fleshy black fruit that has a saline thread. It leads on to a violet, accommodating finale, well-ripened tannins and their ease of texture, plus a nicely firm underlay. Good focus here – every piece of the puzzle has its merit, too. It is also not overdone in any way, and can play a steady waiting game. From 2016, but the longer the better. 2031-33 Nov 2012


(casks) the best Chapoutier parcellaire wine this year at this stage. Very dark, a tiny bit darker than the 2010 Pavillon. Has a high potential nose, which only implies rather than delivers now. There is high grade blackberry fruit in the air. Supple debut to the palate, with a juicy spread, but this is soon overtaken by a network of tannins and grilled influences. I can detect its class in mid-palate, where the juice is stylish and reveals itself a little. Has a complete, satisfying finish. Needs 5 years. From 2016. 2041-44 July 2011


(pre-bottle, final assemblage) dark robe; strong oak is the first sensation, tarry-charry, deep cassis and freshly ground coffee beans, a Kenyan coffee depth. There is also a sense of Dijon black fruit liqueur and soft southern herbs. The usual intricate Ermite that poses questions, is not an open book, on the palate. Its grand merit is the finale, the final stages which are calm, balanced, classy. It starts on grainy, oaked black fruit, but the texture always leans towards the smooth. Energy on the finish is noted – it ends on the up, with a lot there. Best of the 2009s. 2042-45 July 2011 Previously Nov 2010 ***** (casks) good, full red; graceful, wide and classy nose, bearing simmered red fruits - plum, crabapple - are “silken” in nature, and have notes of smoke and spice and of course oak in with them. The palate also bears a graceful, feminine texture – the fruit is fine, with Pinot Noir connotations. Has good, discreet length, is a slow developing wine of good balance. It builds in weight, but there is nothing hasty, ill-judged about it. Has a fine, powdery finale, fine tannins that are a bit dry, and need leaving for 3 years or so to sort out. Really good style in its fruit - that is central to it. From 2014-15. 2027-30 Nov 2010

2008 ()

(cask, London) full robe – red plus black – the darkest of the Big 4 Parcellaire wines. Has a blackberry fruit aroma with a sweet top note – it is very primary and fruited with no extras for now, comes with a little earthiness. Intense black fruit flashes along the palate – a series of moments rather than one sustained event. There is some licorice in the flavour and pockets of clarity, and a definite suggestion of complexity to come along. The end is fine and textured. This holds more imposing, obvious fruit (raspberry) than the Pavillon. From 2013-14. 2028-30 April 2009

2007 ()

(casks) full, dark red, with a slight black interior. The nose shows immediate appeal – it mixes floral, sensual red and balck cherry airs, without being as lush as soaked cherries (griottes). It has confident depth, is also fundamental – this is diverse. The palate has a bright start – the flavour is black cherries, with a clean strike at its heart. The finish is more varied than the Pavillon, and it ends on a licorice, pebbly texture and plenty of chewy length. A more nuanced wine than the Pavillon. The aftertaste is on oak-charcoal for now – it needs to absorb its oak. Needs time – drink from 2013. 2026-28 Dec 2008


the palest robe of the Big Four here – it is dark red, with a raspberry rim. The bouquet is sealed up, and the fruit has sweet traces, a fruit gum aroma that is a little earthy, maybe reductive. There are airs of iodine and florality also. There is a pretty strike of red fruit on the attack – this soon gives way to a wave of tannin and enclosure. It is very gracious – a formidable wine of complexity here, one that is very long. The red fruit glances along the sides of the palate with great finesse. The aftertaste is aromatic. 14°. 2034-36 Dec 2008 Previously June 2007 ***** (casks) quite a dark, bright robe with a full centre. Has a tightly, closely packed aroma – there is black berry in there, and it is a bit more fat than the Pavillon 2006. The black cherry fruit has a live leaning, and is intense, holding and gripping well. Good length and freshness. Is atouch extracted – persists thanks to that in part. Has a micha aftertaste. From 2012. 2026-28 June 2007


(pre-bottle) red, more black robe; oily, mulled, liqueur aroma – red plums with some air or freedom at the top, a little mineral. Good round attack, is very spherical. Red fruits lie at its core – as opposed to the black fruits of Bessards that gives the Pavillon. Elegant, suave feel all through, with a coating and stroking of the palate. Is well directed, its fruit is ripe and there is a kix of toast and oak at the end. Still not together, try from 2012. Will be sensual around 2016. More hidden than the Pavillon, and more complex, too. 2028-32 June 2007

2004 ()

(casks) matt tinted robe. Overt, jam aroma, some spice edging - fruit left to hang on vine; is broad and a little fungal. Open, accessible fruit, fleshy in style, jam leaning. Red berry finale, stops rather suddenly. A 'mature' wine, works on refinement rather than power, its flavours are stewed. Middle palate shows some complexity - a fruit and white pepper mix. From 2009. 2022-24 April 2006 Previously Dec 2005 ***** bouquet has an elegant sprinkling of pepper and raspberries, bonny, and lots of variety to come. Fruit of real, luscious appeal, then some growing smokiness. Very long, tannins are orderly, gently placed here. May close up. Great appeal with its silken elegance and juice. Esp 2008-09 on. Drinks now on its fruit. 2023-25


(cask) very dark; rich bouquet, oily and full, black fruits. Notably rich, persistent palate. No rough edges at all, chocolate style flavours, well sustained, has real follow-through and is very pretty. Touch of end tannin. 2007 on. 2022-24


(cask) light red fruit/rose flower nose; floral also on palate, stylish, fresh attack. It floats - this is not dark wine. 2008 on?


overt berry nose, vanilla, oily; elegant, intriguing wine, holds suave tannins,and some mineral in its rich texture. It is complex - that is praise. Esp 2007-08 on. 2021-25 Previously ***** malo not done, no nose appreciable, comment thus; dense fruit, very crunchy and deep. Good southern warmth, challenging and tannins well-founded. Last Syrah harvesting this year on 10 October. 2018-24


(cask sample) purple robe; quite dry bouquet (windy granite influence), alcohol comes through, woods and berries, smoky; taut, tight, sinewy wine, upright black fruit and tar, oak on end. Burnt tones, flint stone. From 2008. 2018-25


most reserved bouquet of the parcellaire special 1999s - has a hint of black fruit, slight raspberry, light spice; there is a quite warm, generous opening to the palate. Holds raspberry fruit, which is delicate and makes you seek. Some oak smoke and end dryness. A Philosopher of a Wine, subtle, with complexity and potential. Most Bordeaux-styled of this year`s wines. 2021-26


reticent, then the air brings ripe grapes, essence, oiliness, some smoke; discreet cooked stone fruit flavour, very harmonious tannins. Juice/leather mix. Again, the most complex, of the big three, the one that makes the drinker seek and ponder. The finish is also like a fat Bordeaux. 2020-25


warm, even, fine bouquet - a generous do. Has a succulent texture, composed of ripe fruit jam, quince, a touch of spice. Good length. Very lasting fruit, great pleasure here. There is a touch of grainy tannin at the end. Needs time to broaden. 2016-21


floral, violet, leather aspects - bouquet has quiet substance. More charming than the Pavillon from Bessards, and less direct. There is good sap in the dark fruits, nice density and some pepper. This can be complex, has good length and a grainy finish. 2016-20