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The Wines

95-97% Marsanne (1968, 1973, 2004), 3-5% Roussanne (1998), all Guigal crop from the 2 hectare south-facing granite-based former Jean-Louis Grippat vineyard at Tournon, vinified at 18°C and raised 50% new 228-litre oak casks (no lees stirring), 50% 1-year 228-litre oak casks (has been 50% new, 50% steel vat) 12 months (note 2005-09 was 100% new oak 12 months (no lees stirring), “we went back to 50% vat to keep a more apparent minerality,” 8-10,000 b

2020 ()

(bottling this week) shiny yellow; brioche bread, white raisin, southern tones on the nose, with white plums, infused tea. The palate is soft, silken, flows with grace, has a savoury nature, good length, exact freshness. This is full but nicely restrained, an elegant St Jo blanc with oaking settling inside. The palate is impressive, pleasing, detailed. The change of tonnelier has rendered the oak more stylish and fluid. 14.5°. From 2023. 2036-38 June 2021


yellow robe, with lustre. Prominent oak dominates the nose, so there’s a frontage of grilling, and only an undertone of creamy, ripe fruits, flan. It’s wide, certain, needs time. The palate engages better, thanks to the poise in its elegant gras richness. It comes with good spine, a steady structure that will development and life. The oak comes back in a caramel-noted aftertaste. This should be left until 2023 – it’s rated on that basis, with decanting a definite option. 14.5°. 2031-33 Dec 2020 GB £155/6 b in bond The Wine Society +44(0)1438 741177 https://www.thewinesociety.com/rhoneep

2018 ()

firm yellow; the nose is forceful on its grilling, oak, varnish influences. There is a glazed fruits, white raisin, apricot setting beyond the oak. The palate bears sturdy richness, travels with prominent oak, has a savoury, coated feel in the texture. This is solid, a little Southern. It requires leaving until 2022 at the earliest. I would wait until it’s five years’ old. It’s marked by the vintage strength - hence the balance is not primo. 14.5°. Bottled June 2019. 2030-32 Dec 2019

2017 ()

yellow robe, wee green tints. Has a plump, obvious nose, prominent oak toasting, lines of vanilla, apricot. It leans towards tropical fruit, has bulk. The palate is on dried fruits, nuts, with a glycerol feel in the texture which speaks of its place, sets it up for sauced cuisine. It has inner intensity - strains on the leash in that respect. There are definite hints of power and sun here. Decant it. 14.5°. 95% Mars, 5% Rouss. From spring 2020, and worth waiting longer. 2033-35 March 2019


firm yellow robe. A generous, also stylish bouquet is led by peach fruit, apricot, has a glisten of fat in its depth. The palate bears tasty, yum yum richness and flavours of nectarine, almond. The juice is neat, and the texture is smooth, rather silken. It’s showing well now, just one month after its bottling, but has the scope to both close and re-emerge well. It will offer more nuances and provoke more if drunk from 2021. Decanting aadvised. 2028-29 Nov 2017

2015 ()

yellow robe. Has a busy, nicely full nose, offers a rounded compote of white fruits aroma, a hum of apricot and ginger, summer flowers. The palate comes with restraint, its gras soft. It shows a little oak towards the finish. The freshness is discreet. It’s at a subdued stage, I feel. The shape is upright, its fine length correct. From mid-2018, and decanting advised. It’s quite big on degree, 14.5° on the label, so is suited to butter-based dishes, sauced dishes. 2026-28 June 2017

2014 ()

full yellow robe. The first aroma is toasted, on oak, and that hovers finely above a peach air, along with still in the cellar connotations such as glzed sugar, barley sugar, honey. This is coated, rich wine, a smooth traveller with cards to play. It ends on a handsome roundness, plus a soark of lucid grip, tang, the contribution of the Marsanne stamping its finish. This is stately white St Joseph, with a lot of stylish gras at its centre. Its plumpness will suit sauced dishes, and decanting is advised. 13°. 2022-24 GB £138/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Oct 2015

2013 ()

yellow, with some gold in the robe, sturdy legs denoting plenty of glycerol. The nose is very strong on the oak, has a really raw side from that, and it serves to obscure what seems to be pretty fine cooked white fruit, banana and flan airs within. The oak also brings spice, stem ginger into play. The palate is weighty – this needs time. It has a flavour of flan and peanut right now. It will go with full flavoured dishes. It ends on a white raisin influence. It is probably near 15°, shows a little tannin as it finishes. Decanting a must. Tasted blind – once revealed, the label does indeed state 14.5°. From mid-2017. 2026-28 GB £174/6 bots in bond Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com  £150/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Jan 2015


full yellow robe, legs visible. The bouquet is evolving to a secondary state, gives an air of liquid honey and apricot juice, has inner strength. The palate has overt Marsanne bustle – almonds, hazelnuts are prominent with orange marmalade, ginger tang on the finish. This is a proper good table wine – chicken of Bresse in a morilles wild mushroom sauce and some of those classics. It reminds me of a Hermitage blanc – that is praise. The scared drinkers and white coated scientists would find some oxidation, but its glycerol means it is a stable wine, and its length is good and secure. Has character. 2021-23  Oct 2015

2011 ()

mild yellow. Apricot, toasted air, with vanilla, licorice present. It is a wide, serious bouquet. This is potebtially a complex wine – it has a tight ball of fine gras richness and oaking, is very long, holds its gras well. This is shaping up well. It has a scented top note, with light honey flavouring. From 2015. 2025-27. Bottled Nov 2012, earlier than usual.  May 2013

2010 ()

mid+ yellow colour; really interesting nose that is toasted, intriguing, offering spice, white raisin, has mystery, is smoky. The palate starts on a flan-banana-apricot trio, develops a confirmed gras richness, extends with precise minerality, the gras wrapped around it. It shows white jam generosity at the mid-palate point, grips soundly on the finish. Bottled end Oct 2011. 14°. 2024-26 Dec 2011


(to bottle Oct 2010) big, mighty nose of real class; honey and dried fruits present. Rich and sinewed palate, super good, has a quality gras richness, also length. It is a L'Hermite or Péléat Hermitage white in miniature, is complex and vital. Great wine, swallows a lot of its oak, too. 2026-28 July 2010


gold glints in the robe. The bouquet shows orange marmalade aromas, vanilla and honey, with toasting from its oak. This has a solid, stocky style palate – its feet are on the ground. It is stylish, with Marsanne probity in its late grip and mineral clarity – flavours such as white raisin, sultana and spice mingle here. The oak filters through towards the finish, and the aftertaste carries dried fruits. Fine-boned, but discreetly solid. From spring 2010. 2019-21 Dec 2008


oaked top note on the bouquet, which has confirmed weight and depth – suggests more to come aromatically. Buttery, banana strat to palate, with some exotic fruits. There is proper full weight in this. It ends quite clearly – dried fruits, raisin, vanilla and some intrinsic richness, especially late on. Nice width, and has good core and heart. Food such as red mullet (rouget) or daurade (sea bream) or classically prepared scallops (Coquille St Jacques). Drink from mid-2009 for less obvious oak. 2015-17 Jan 2008

2005 ()

some yellow in the robe. Honey/coconut aroma, exotic air, also white plum and spice. Palate is in a quiet phase, shows some typical Marsanne bitterness, not disagreeable. Has content for the future and agreeable acidity; there is latent power in reserve. Esp late 2007 on. 2014-16 January 2007 Previously Dec 2006 *** reserved but full bouquet, with some light hazelnut. Wide, structured wine, with muscle and plenty of nerve. There are oak traces at the end, though it is clear there. Drinks well now, but better from 2008. To 2014. Dec 2006


full yellow, slight gold in the robe; the bouquet combines honey, acacia, baked fruit tart, apricot. The palate is gourmand, rounded and ends on a tight grip. It travels securely, and there is some oak apparent on the finish. It is not quite there for its oak yet – go for it from late 2009. A complex, not evident wine, which has an established glycerol and rich texture about it. There is peach in the flavour. Decant this. “Drink with fish in sauce, even spiced sauces. St-Pierre, monkfish, pike for instance. This is comparable in volume to 2007, but is now integrating its oak,” P.Guigal. Dec 2008 Previously June 2006 **(*) tints of near gold on robe. Very affirmative nose of ripe fruits that declares, comes pushing out of the glass, with banana and tropical fruits here. Tightly bound, still on its oak on the palate, with a discernible thread of alcohol, also. Has a fat core but the oak is on top. Comes in a potent style, the alcohol concerns me - it crops up on the aftertaste. I would like more deep-seated richness and less oak. Try in mid 2007 on. To 2010-11. June 2006

2003 ()

lightly toasted, elegant apricot/pear bouquet. Refined richness, treads lightly with a mix of apricot and hazelnut. Rich, but has grip. Toast/honey aftertaste, touch burnt on end but can settle. 2006 on. 2014-16

2002 ()

(cask) some lime tart/mineral touches too; pretty, good structure, quite open, can flourish. Oaked length. 2010-11


buttery, very ripe bouquet; warm, rounded, fair gras. Peach stone, nicely burnt vanilla, smoky dried fruit end. Fair length. 2009-11

2000 ()

light floral aromas; elegant palate, gentle white fruit. Stops a little short. Wee bit dull.


J-L Grippat blanc: mix of floral and boiled sweets on bouquet; quiet fullness, good persistence here. Very good. Bottled by Guigal shortly after the purchase.