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The Wines

45-days drying of Marsanne crop on straw, aged new oak 24 months plus, 105 gm of residual sugar per litre, 2,500 half bottles


dark robe – a mix of gold and orange tints. The nose leads with orange peel and butterscotch, has a sweet layer or couch below this top freshness. There is also a white truffle moment, good. The palate is full, with sweet notes, but is not yet truly expressive along the palate. It drinks on its overt sweetness for now – is hardly en route. From when? Maybe 2014 or so. 2033-36 April 2009


apricot-gold robe. Very round, full aroma - some notably elegant fruit and floral aspects. The palate is also elegant and varied: crème caramel, honey, vanilla, apricot, quince on finish, with some oak there. Pretty wine. 2024-30


dark robe, burnished gold. Has a deep pear, apricot with ginger aroma, very Marsanne in make-up. Vanilla and white raisin also fill the bouquet, which sustains well, has elegance. There is good drive on the debut of the palate, a flavour of sponge cake, marmalade, chunky cooked citrus fruits. This is masculine, deep, with extended length thanks to a little freshness. It is deep-hearted wine with the aid of clear freshness, has a red wine structure – not a surprise in this very sunswept vintage. It will live, and I actually find it in transition now, so decant it! 37.5 cl bottle. 2038-40 Nov 2016


glinting, orange hues, off gold colour. There is a very light air of syrup on the nose, which declares well, with a nutty aroma prominent, a Marsanne imprint. The palate starts on a firm flavour; there is a peel of fruit there – apricot, orange, some citrus there. It initially tends to dryness. Has a flavour of butterscotch. It ends declaring acidity, is extremely live at the end. It needs food to bolster it and round it. It widens a bit and softens with air, and the acidity quietens. A 75 cl bottle. This doesn’t say vin de paille on the label for reasons stated below, and was the first vin de paille made for many years, with my friend David Gilmour, ex of the Bow Wine Vaults who brought this for dinner, given three bottles. Nov 1999, East Sussex Previously Oct 1986 ****(*) lovely very pale gold robe, delicate golds present. The bouquet is surprisingly restrained, is engagingly rounded, shows a little alcohol. It is more sturdy and nutted than floral. “This is a pretty truthful vin de paille nose – the sense of age is moderated, it isn’t very floral, and there is a correct touch of oxidation on it,” Max Chapoutier. The palate bears a lingering, indeed very prolonged richness, a gras heart. This is impressive, never cloying, is like a the acidity good, the wine generous. It will live extremely well – 30 years or more, I would say.  “I have waited 15 years for the right maturity and the ability to pick very rapidly. My father made one in 1944, and his grandfather made one several times. My father saw that crop was being wasted by rot, rain, birds, people when trying to obtain the dehydration of the grapes, and so modified the decree of Hermitage to reintroduce the passerillage sur pied, on the vine itself. That was accepted by the INAO authorities in Avignon, and is now in the hands of the national INAO in Paris. The second way to achieve it is on wires, or by drying the grapes on straw. The key is a dry year, but also where the evolution of the grapes is accelerated to diminish the risks – that is why it was possible, but not ideal, in 1985, and spot on in 1982. This has 36 gm of residual sugar, the degree 15.2°, the total acidity 4.1 – it is like Brigitte Bardot at 20 years old, and will live as long as a liqueur wine. In 1964 we drank from a cellar here in Tain a 1760 vin de paille Hermitage, not touched since its bottling. It was not only drinkable, but positively good, since it still had some sweetness. The finish was a lovely toasted, burnt toast ending,” Max Chapoutier  October 1986