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The Wines

mostly 1930s and 1940s Marsanne on St-Joseph site, whole bunch pressed, cool 24-48 hr decantation, wild yeasts, fermented, raised 50%-plus mostly new 600-litre oak casks, 50% vat 8-10 months, very soft lees stirring over first 2 months, retention of high level of CO2 sought to counter oxidation, and allow low use of sulphites, two parts assembled before bottling, organic, biodynamic wine, 5-6,000 b

2019 ()

deep yellow robe; the bouquet is just forming, for now shows careful oaking, with a guava jelly, apricot-ginger tang that is true Marsanne. Its cards are hardly dealt at present. It’s going to be imposing in time, deserving of a large glass. The palate is an interesting cluster of mixed white fruits, brioche baked bread, grapiness, a hum of oak in the background. It’s as if there is a network of little paths and trails that contribute to its whole, and it’s a wine of variety and stimulus, well worth studying, and showing patience in opening it. The skill with the Marsanne chez Chapoutier continues as highly as ever. 13.°5. From mid-2022. 2033-35 Dec 2020

2018 ()

(casks) full yellow robe; the bouquet is richly endowed, but not yet out and about. It carries a brioche, baked bread aroma, with white raisin, denoting the sunshine strength of the vintage. It holds well, has a saline angle, with considerable potential. The palate is elegant, rich and rolling, a very successful style; there is a measured richness at its heart, with dried fruits, more grippy sidelines, rendering its structure serious and good. There is a discreet note of carbonic gas at its centre. This is a major St Jo blanc 2018. I would leave it until 2022 or so, decanting necessary. It will be great around eight to 12 years’ old, a real treat for noble dishes à table. 2037-39 Nov 2019

2017 ()

(casks) pretty full yellow robe. The nose is still reticent, in formation, presents a block of ginger snap, roasted nuts, oaking and its grilling. It’s a manly start for what is a serious table wine. The palate lies low, with inner style in its white fruits, dried fruits flavour. It’s not an overtly fruited wine, has a little lemon in its delivery, but there are plenty of contributors to paint an interesting picture for the future. This is mini-Hermitage blanc, with iron in its fibre, and real local character. Take your time: from 2021. 2035-37 Dec 2018

2016 ()

yellow robe. The bouquet is fat, on reduction, a rather opulent guava jelly, peach jelly aroma; it has sunny ripeness. There’s a note of aniseed, infused tea such as camomile. The palate immediately lined with carbonic gas that changes its texture to a drizzle. The richness is good and tasty, and it holds that rich line through to the end, a clear finale. This is most delicious, lovely wine for white meats, firmly flavoured fish such as monkfish, tuna. There’s a nutty-grapiness on the aftertaste, There is grilling on the palate, and it has very good heart. Decant it. From 2019. 2029-31 Feb 2018 Previously Apr 2016 **** (cask) yellow robe, some green tints. The nose is fat, reductive, gives airs of cooked apples, grilling, oak and vanilla. It’s not clearly defined or precise, is broad. The palate carries a fresh topping above steady gras richness with a burst of freedom on the finish. This has good poise, is a wine with a little red wine structure. The flavour centres on white fruits, white peach, also aniseed. The length is steady. 20 hl/ha this year. From 2019. 2030-32 Apr 2017 GB £176.03 per 6 b in bond, £62.89 per magnum (big increase from 2015) in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk Apr 2016

2015 ()

shiny yellow. The bouquet gives a grapey opening, with lime and ripe mandarin airs, a marked toasting. It’s a compelling start, with the promise of more to come. The palate holds a fresh line of apricot fruit with Mirabelle, greengage plum alongside. There is the feel of carbonic gas and its near spritz as it goes. The finish brings in honey, infused tea, a sense of drift. It has about enough weight to handle the gas, but I mark it down because of that interference. It would be a better wine with a longer life and more genuine richness without it. 2024-26 Oct 2016 Previously Apr 2016 ***(*) (cask) fine yellow colour. The nose suggests promise and variety to come – oak, mandarin, lime, nuts, greengage plum and vanilla all feature. There is a clear ring on the attack – this is a pretty sleek version of Les Granits, with tension on its sub New Wave agenda. It has a tight frame, close and clear sides. The aftertaste is floral. Carbonic gas is centred inside it for adding freshness. From spring 2017. 2028-30 GB £148.95 per 6 b in bond, £53.58 per magnum in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk Apr 2016


yellow robe. The bouquet is chunky, square, based on overt oak in the front seats. An aroma of ginger and orange-lime marmalade hovers. There is nothing discreet about this debut. The palate is not surprisingly filled with a close-knit content, and takes on a run of tannin towards the finish, where a cool note of aniseed appears. This is a big wine that needs time to soften further. White meats, sauces are on the menu for it. There is plenty here in an unfettered way. From spring 2017. 2022-24  Oct 2015 

2013 ()

fair yellow colour. Has a nutty, white plum aroma, with roasted hazelnuts fresh out of the oven as a backdrop: a genuine Marsanne display here. The attack starts on peach fruit, has a cooked citrus element after that, builds a little tannin and consequent grip. Suited to food such as wild mushrooms – morilles from the Rhône region, for example. Has a manly, compact nature. There is overt tang on the aftertaste. It is just a little unrefined. 2023-25  GB £158/6b bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com  Jan 2015


attractive fine yellow, legs down the glass. Has broad bouquet marked by depth in its gras richness, is plentiful, shows a measured richness, expresses the oily essence of tea and fruit. It is very nutty as befits a Marsanne wine, shows young oak as well. The start bears carbonic gas, is jaunty, the palate wide and fluid, for now airborne, but has the depth to come to ground and to intensify as it evolves. Fine acidity creates a clear, stylish finish. It may close up around 2015-16. Wait till 2026, thus. Decant it. 2024-26.  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(vat/casks) bright, sympa fine yellow. Lightly oaked, mild aroma with toast and hazelnut, walnut on display. It builds up power as it breathes. The palate is tight, grainy and currently on its oak. The content and flavour are subdued, barely get into the game. It needs leaving 18 months so it can proffer more flavour and stimulus. It holds gras, so can show more, I trust it. There is a note of bitter on the finish, a wee burn, an orange marmalade note in some late richness. A full-on St Jo blanc. 2023-25  Nov 2012


(vat/casks) shiny, full yellow. Ripe bouquet – it flashed lime, white pepper, coconut milk, sizzled butter, with light pineapple air as well: so, a very mixed bag, with a mineral air of grace. Big, wide palate that takes on herbal, quince, fennel tastes late on, tannins bring up the end. It starts on buttery, golden raisin flavours. A full vintage, but it has clear late stages, a lot of fresh lingering in the form of licorice, and then a decisive, varied sign-off. Wee oak in the late moments. From 2015, or even a year or two later, since it may hide. 2033-35 July 2011


yellow, straw tints. Mango aroma, exotic fruits off the leash – talk about a child of the cellar, pineapple and banana also here. The palate holds implicit gras richness, and is very textured around its fatness. Sumptuous but also fragrant. There is a sherry style, very ripe aspect to this. Complex, interesting finish. Decant this, and of course drink with foods that can take in turbot, lobster, really top notch fish. 2020-23 July 2010

2008 ()

(cask, London, malo completed, to be racked soon) pear tone, opaque robe; sweet, honeycomb, banana aromas – the bouquet has an intrinsically fat air, the longer it is open the more it reveals hazelnut, and obvious Marsanne connotations. The palate has had a dose of CO2 to keep it fresh, so starts on that texture. There is a good, elegant mid-palate, before it tightens, and the classic Marsanne grip or bitter comes through. Has a direct shape for now. On the outside it is a light touch wine, but there is definite content within, even a little heat. The finish is clear. From 2011. 2025-27 April 2009


glinty yellow; has a flan, caramel-peach nose, with melted brown sugar and vanilla – a good mix. The palate has an apricot, honey first flavour – a pretty alliance. It straightens as it goes, and ends decisively, with plenty of late matter. It is poised, and the flavour edges towards crème brulée; I like its energy, this is a good little force of nature wine, has character, is STGT. The good finish brings out dried fruits and access to its place, with a fresh, saline end. From mid-2009, enjoy its vigour straight away, but it will rock on well over time. 13.5°. 2023-25 Bottled Nov 2008. Dec 2008

2006 ()

orange, mandarin aroma that comes in an opulent style bouquet, a packet full of exotic fruits, lime, linden, camomile here. Good grip on the palate from its granite – there are moments of roundness with clear late stages. A wine with heart, and rich content. Nutty, nougat flavours towards the finish. Great with sauced foods, Vieille France dishes. Up to spiced foods as well. 2024-25 Dec 2009 Previously Nov 2007 **** full yellow colour; there is a round shape to the nose, that contains peach, stone fruit aromas and a little butter. The palate has a brisk, tingling attack, with plenty of mineral and a deftly spiced appeal. The fruit is restrained today. Cohesive wine, has a bit more substance and flesh than the 2005. This is a vintage of freshness - low acidities but fresh all the same. Clear, quite brisk end, good length with richness there. Good balance. 2023-25 Nov 2007


full yellow robe; buttery, nice broad nose of dried fruits, that is grounded in nature and solid at its heart. The palate starts nice and round, with grip and good spine along it. Has a correct, cautious end that is clear and a little white peppered. The now closed palate needs leaving until 2010-11. There is a hint of late dried fruit in here. It is structured, a wine for thought-out dishes. It is less blowsy than many Granits whites have been – good. 13.5°. 2022-25 Nov 2007 Previously June 2007 ***(*) melted butter, exotic, pineapple fruit aroma with oak hints – is pretty broad and open. Dried fruits start the palate, with quite a rich continuation. Ends clean and dry. Is still locked in to some extent, drink from mid-2009. Carries a quite, touch bitter-salted finish with oak there. 2023-26 June 2007 Previously Dec 2005 (cask) ***(*) elegant, mineral aromas. Cool, clear wine with sinew, holds a near tannic quality. Cautious, upright now, but there is depth here. 2020-24 Dec 2005

2004 ()

**(*) wine now: melted butter, with some lime and spice on the nose. Full, broad start to palate, but lacks direct cut, plenty of oak here. Fat enough, but narrows down through the force of the oak. It is cleanly made, but lacks spark here. Its heavy style is not to my taste at this stage. To 2013-15 June 2006. Previously Dec 2005 ***(*) orange, apricot mix with some exotic aromas thrown in, bouquet is quite prolonged with the vintage clarity. Stylish, ripe fruit, a tingle of oak on palate. Tightens and shows a typical touch of the Marsanne bitterness that draws it together. Rich core but not fat. Esp 2008 on. 2018-22

2003 ()

oily, rich, buttery nose. Pretty rich wine, broad, a touch extracted, some oak evident. Length OK, chewy finale, overt Marsanne breadth and fullness. 2012-14


yellow; exotic banana/oak nose; three-quarter weight, fine. Esp 2006 onwards. To 2012-14

2001 ()

broad butter/floral nose; full, juicy palate, with some restraint. Rich, oily wine, Marsanne arriba! Lasting, nutty end. 2005-06 on. 2016-19.


creamy, custard-like aroma. Thorough flavour, white fruit/light nut. Approaches white Hermitage in style, on a lesser scale. 2011-13

1999 ()

white pepper/truffle/light spice bouquet; nice, clean density, has gras; white stone fruit, spice/heat end. 2015-18


open, tropical, sweets/white truffle aromas; tighter palate - flan, lime, honey/vanilla end with mineral. Complex. Lot of variety. Could get an oxidised side, but power will win. To around 2017

1997 ()

big, full traditional rich bouquet, some advance; golden dried fruit tarts, very round. More fine on palate than nose indicates. Very grapy finish. Real copious Marsanne. 2006-08 It has been more magnificent in its younger days, showing smoked white fruits, and the fat of a mini-Hermitage.

1996 ()

yellow; exotic fruits, pineapple/grapefruit; needs air. The palate starts flabby, then becomes more delicate, clear-cut, as befits the vintage. Overall, it reflects cellar work more than nature, changes quite fast with air. Not really typical white St-Joseph.