This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2005

UK Wine Forum - the Rhône
Notes from participants in the UK Forum are added in chronological order.

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red - white


12/02 1991 Clos des Papes 1996 Chateauneuf du Pape - £16 (US$24)
Double decanted 1 hour in advance with very little sediment. Not a good vintage in the S.Rhone and it was interesting to see how this wine had developed. Almost Burundian red in colour and seemingly starting to turn a shade of brown. A strong smell of herbs and aniseed greet the nose, with red liquorice. This firm wine has bright acidity backed up by light red fruits and finishes modestly. IMO, this wine is at its drinking plateau and should be consumed over the next 1-3 years. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

12/02 1991 Clos des Papes 1997 Chateauneuf du Pape - £16 (US$24)
Double decanted 1 hour in advance, again with very little sediment. A medium burgundy colour, this smelled of leather, tar, some herbs and liquorice. It tasted tight with ripe tannins and some red fruits mixing with a dash of clean acidity. Some dryness on the finish and overall a decent wine that can definitely be drunk now. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

12/02 1991 1996 Gigondas, Domaine Santa Duc 14% ABV
Clear, with plummy core and garnet rim. The nose is plummy, fruity with a gently oaky overlay. First impressions are of a warm, broad, expansive attack which is slightly lacking in structure at the outset. Tannins soon assert themselves though, as does the presence of reasonable acidity. The mid-palate is full of spice and pepper - very much influenced by grenache but you can sense the Mourvedre reining in the unchecked flabbiness of the Grenache. Oak is present but muted - a smoky layer complimenting the fruit. Fresh, warm but slightly short with an element of bitterness to the finish. This could do with some more age. Very good indeed. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

12/02 1991 1982 Jaboulet La Chapelle Hermitage
(Magnum) - Mature ruby color, slightly bricking at the edges. I gushed when putting my nose near this wine. Swirling scents of distinctive smoke, pepper, tar, and gamey aromas came to play in my glass. A generous Hermitage with an excellent, fully mature mouthfeel and concentration of rich, sweet blueberry, leather and rustic flavors. Soft on the palate and great balance and length to this quintessential N. Rhone star that's starting to show mature characteristics. (Roy Hersh, USA)

12/02 1991 1985 Jasmin Patrick Cote Rotie
Although I get to drink my fair share of Rhone wines, I had never experienced a wine made by this maestro. Orangish-red in color, this Rotie is smooth and elegant and more Burgundian than Rhone-ish which could certainly be due to its 17 years in bottle. Mostly soft, red berry fruit with light smoked meat nuances, this could have used more time to sit in glass or decanter as it had just been opened. The acid and tannins are fully integrated here and the finish was impressive. (Roy Hersh, USA)

12/02 1991 1989 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape
Over the past few years of drinking lots of Rhone wines, I have gained admiration for this producer of very fine CdP. This Vieux showed some sweet raisined fruit that was starting to fade and head over the hill, which is hard to understand. Maybe it was just this bottle. Very soft on the palate and showing more like a Burgundy but clearly atypical from my experience with VT and especially a CdP from 1989. (Roy Hersh, USA)

12/02 1991 1990 Jasmin Patrick Cote Rotie
Although I enjoyed Patrick's 1985, for my palate this is the finer wine and more typical of what I love about Cote Rotie. The aromatics are bolstered by the Viognier and also display sweet roasted nuts, blackberries and bacon fat on the nose. Although this has had over a decade to evolve it still shows mostly young fruit and has a lush, spicy quality that was hard not to love. As good as this tasted, the aromas were really what kept me captivated about this wine. (Roy Hersh, USA)

12/02 1991 1990 Domaine du Pegau "Cuvee Laurence" Chateauneuf du Pape
There are a few very fine Rhone wines in this short list, yet this was my favorite of all. Jammy berry flavors with tar, leather, and a gamey quality that would please Burg lovers. Outstanding density and palate crushing waves of fruit. A remarkably rustic and complex CdP wine. The '90 Pegau has an impeccably balanced structure, with fine acidity and ripe tannins nicely folded in. This baby is going to drink well for a very long time…a great Rhone with a finish to remember. (Roy Hersh, USA)

12/02 1991 Chateauneuf du Papes 1988, Chateau Rayas
Blueberry fruit nose, some bitterness and burnt rubber character. Bitter palate, thin and light with a smokey/chemical character. Even though it wasn't faulty it was, frankly, dreadful. No pleasure can be extracted from it. (David Strange, UK)

12/02 1991 Cornas 1991, Clape
Peppery mature fruit nose, rich and long palate, really concentrated and intense. Very pleasing, mature but still with plenty of fruit. Excellent. (David Strange, UK)

11/02 Domaine Le Sang Des Cailloux, Cuvee Lopy
Deep purple, (colour of dark sweet cherries) to the rim with a solid opaque appearance Quite viscous. On the nose sweet spice but also some beefstock. 3D in the mouth with sweet fruit to the front followed by mocha chocolate and vanilla. Oozes class and depth with the soft tannins already well integrated and silky. Very long finsh with the fruit lasting through. For value, it seems to me that (good)Vacqueyras, such as this, produces some very worthy CdP competition at a fraction of the cost (James Wright, UK)

11/02 Roger Sabon Chapelle de Maillac 1998 Lirac- 14% - £5.50 (US$9)
A bright medium strawberry colour. Strong nose of herbs with ripe fruit and earthy flavours. It tastes rich and satisfying with a good level of acidity, keeping it tasting fresh. A good finish, and highly drinkable. 88/100. 2 glasses of this wine were put into the pheasant dish eaten & drank with the next wine. IMO, this is wine of the best wine bargains I could ever hope to find, and I will drink the rest over the next 1-2 years. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Domaine Le Clos des Cacaux 1998 - Cuvee de la Tour Sarazine - Gigondas
A deep plum red, faint pink at the rim with very slow legs running down the side of the glass. A herby, old oak barrels nose greets me, backed up by some freshly cut cabbage. It tastes of maraschino cherries, firm acidity and long drying tannins. This wine can be drunk now, although it needs a good hour plus to breathe and also a big meaty dish to accompany. My personal preference would be to revisit this wine it about 1 year. The wine merchant that sold it to me recommends a drinking window of 2003 - 2012. 86/100 (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Domaine de la Mordoree 1998 Cotes du Rhone
A dark, dull red colour with incredibly thick legs. The nose is powerful and has the unmistakeable smell of garrigue (outdoor herbs) that fills the air from this region. It tastes very ripe with bags (gobs) of red and black fruits. It tastes like a good wine double its price. This is definitely one of the best value wines I have ever tasted. I bought a case of this from the wine merchant and I am NOT disappointed. I am down to my last few bottles which I will drink over the next 1-2 years. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Noel Verset 1995 Cornas 12.5% £15 (US$22)
Colour: Very deep red, nearly purple. Opaque. Nose: Smoky, old vine syrah, touch of aniseed but still not fully open. Palate: Sweet intro, tannins are ripe but dry the palate. Fruit is there but in the background. Although drinkable now, I feel that this is still building up to a peak in 3-5 years, IMHO. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 1991 Cote Rote La Landonne, Rostaing
Last bottle of this. Definitely an old wine. The colour is still good, but the wine itself has softened considerably. Still we drank the 2 together and the young wine did not overpower it. As you would expect this had more poise and refinement, and the finish was slightly longer. Was actually expecting something special, so although it was good, it was in a way a bit disappointing. No real leather or other secondary flavours had developed and there was just some gentle red berry style flavours. No idea what the current vintage costs, but would rather buy the South African. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

10/02 A Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 89
Meaty nose quickly becomes rather beetrooty and acidic. Palate a touch volatile, although there's nice complexity and gaminess too. Perhaps a bit cooked, if not it's clearly fading now. G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

10/02 Domaine Alary David et Denis Cotes du Rhones Villages Cairanne 2000
Lovely full purple colour. Silky, voloptuous, softly spicy wine, very satisfying. VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

10/02 Crozes Hermitage Cuvee Gaby, Dme. Colombier 1998
Great bouquet at first, cherry raspberry and violets, good finish but very little flavour on the mid-palate, could be a bit closed, does open up slightly after a couple of hours but then develops an unpleasant woody note. Starts out well but eventually fails to impress. OK (Charles Adams, UK)

10/02 St. Joseph Offerus, J. L. Chave 1999
Increasing northern Rhone character with extended breathing, hints of violets and bacon, tarry fruit, good finish but again empty in the middle. Not as impressive as say Marc Rouviere's basic St. Joseph. Good. (Charles Adams, UK)

10/02 Cote Rotie, Cote Brune et Blonde, Pierre Gaillard 1995
Classic bacon, needs some warmth to show well very smooth and well balanced with great concentration and only 12.5 % alcohol, will probably go on improving for another 2-5 years. Excellent. (Charles Adams, UK)

10/02 Chateauneuf du Pape, Bosquet des Papes 1995
Sweet jammy fruit like Christmas cake and port, alcoholic hit leading into a long finish, rather bizarre old mill flavour on day 2, a bit disappointing. OK (Charles Adams, UK)

10/02 Chateauneuf du Pape, Vieux Telegraphe 1996
Quite sweet and light but drinking beautifully now. Excellent. (Charles Adams, UK)

10/02 1990 Cote Rotie Les Roziers, De Vallouit (12.5%)
Clear red/ruby with a good intensity of colour to the rim. very fragrant nose with gentle farmyard/undergrowth, smke and game. Initial impression is that of an earthy wine, but this is soon replaced by lovely fruit and pepper. Velvet sums it up with a warm, long finish. Good mid-palate grip provided by some tannin. Very good/excellent. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

10/02 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 1999
(£7.50 from Oddbins) - Dense purple colour with simple aroma that evolved and deepened with time. Nice simple fruit with slight spiciness and backbone of tannin and acid and showing good length. A nice wine, but lacking a bit of complexity for the price. 14/20 (Simon Wharton, UK)

10/02 1994 Cave de Tain "Crozes Hermitage"
Interesting nose of mushrooms, dried leaves and over ripe cherry with a touch of pepper. Concentrated blueberry and boysenberry fruit that was fairly soft and although well-balanced, I was slightly disappointed that it did not have more guts. Fine earthy character and I don't know that this will improve too much more. Still it was a nice wine with Osso Bucco we had last weekend (same night that the Graham '55 was had for dessert). (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 Chateau Beaucastel Rouge 2001 (cask sample)
stunning nose of super-concentrated black-cherry fruits. Full of glycerine on the palate. Incredible ripeness. I don`t know if this will outlast the 2000 as it lacked the tannins of that vintage. But it will make fantastic drinking over the next decade or so. (Neal Martin, UK)

10/02 Chave Hermitage 1994
A clear, bright ruby. The nose offers sweet red fruits, very Burgundian right down to the complexing undergrowth character. Also there's pepper, liquorice and a touch of boot polish, no doubt from a volatile lift. The palate has superb balance offering layers of sweet, ripe layers of fruit with hints of earth following the nose. Tannins are there but completely ripe and perfectly balance by mid-weight fruit and acid so it never seems out of place, from start to the very long finish. All up, delicious. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/02 Montjoie 2000 Chateauneuf Du Pape - 13%
Winemaker Gabriel Liogier seems to have made a good CNdP in the good 2000 vintage. Bright cherry red, lighter than I would expect for this wine, probably due to a high percentage of Grenache. The nose was closed but the classic 'garrigue' smell was there in force. Slightly sweet, like eating a cold cherry pie. Ripe tannins hidden by the red fruits. Drinkable but very young and needs a couple of years at least. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

10/02 Chateau D'Ampuis 1995: Cote Rotie, France - 13% - £40 (US$60)
96% Syrah and 4% Viognier, this was a wine made by the Guigal family in need of a big meaty dish. The darkest wine of the tasting, a deep purple that was opaque. The nose was smoky, had black pepper and black fruits. The seamless palate showed ripe tannins and a long finish. This needs another 3-5 years but is a good well-made wine. Overpriced at £40, £25 is more like it to me. My score 6 (5.1). (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

10/02 Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers 1990
Good youngish deep garnet/purple colour. Intense nose of capers/olives - deep and savoury. Mature soft spicy fruit - quite "beefy" both in body and flavour. No rush at all to drink this up. Very good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

10/02 Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 1982
Colour garnet red with hints of orange/brown. Amazing complex nose: both a lifted initial floral component and a savoury/minerally/herby follow through. Palate: beautifully layered flavours and textures: plenty of fruit, gently raisined; mature gamebird meatiness; smoke, iron and minerals. The overall impression is of mellowness and ripeness, but with a real minerally backbone and intensity to it. Excellent/sublime. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Dom du Bosquet des Papes 1993
Deep red colour, fruity but not lively nose, decent weight but seemed to be tiring (the first glass tasted corked - just when I really think I'm getting the hang of detecting this they go and start abandoning cork closures in large numbers!). Sweet, but a little uninspiring. Good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

09/02 Cornas 1995 A.Clape N.Rhone 13% - £16 (US$24)
Well, where do I begin? Totally impenetrable black syrah. The nose smells of concentrated morello cherry jam and also the blackest of black forest fruits like blackberries. The syrah opens up like a young ladies delicate hand wearing a silk glove and caresses the tongue. Surprisingly medium-bodied, this beautiful wine and well-made wine goes on and on. 1 hour later and the wine was still opening up, showing a wilder, herby, spicy side. Based on this there are still a few years of development left but hey, life's too short not to enjoy it now. Easily 94/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Dom du Galet des Papes VV, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1998
This was fatter and richer than the "Tradition" cuvée. Heavy Grenache-dominated nose, quite spirity and rich, sweet red cherries on the palate with a rich and sweet finish. Enough tannin for good balance. Very good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

09/02 Baronnie D'Estourd 1999 CNP red
Colour: Darkish red, nose quite tight. Palate the tannins were evident, with a little sweetness. Blend mostly Grenache, Mouvedre & Syrah. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Baronnie D'Estourd 1998 CNP red
Colour: Slighter darker than the 1999. Nose: Voluptuous, seemed bigger and more open/herby than previous wine. Palate: Velvet in the mouth, ripe tannins, still quite closed, 30 second finish, huge potential. 93/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Baronnie D'Estourd 1997 CNP red
Colour: Lightest of the three wines above. Not as bright either. Nose: most developed of the three, herby, Grenache dominant. Palate: Lean, spicy finish with an acidic aftertaste. Will the acidity fall away before the fruit disappears? 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Baronnie D'Estourd 2000 CNP red
Colour: light red, vibrant. Nose: V.grenache based, nearly 100% we are told by our host. Palate: ripe, rich, herby, sweet, tannins quite ripe and present in the background. Needs a couple more years, or decant in advance. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Baronnie D'Estourd 2001 CNP red
Colour: again, even brighter red than the 2000, bottle opened in front of us [others were already opened]. Nose: open, sweet herby scent. Palate: ripe tannins, rich, sweet and drinkable, not closed down yet. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 1998 Mont Redon red - ½ bottle
Colour: Deepish red, good legs. Nose: Restrained herbs, black fruits of the forest. Palate: Grenache dominant, soft like velvet. Needs another year. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 1998 Vieux Telegraphe
Colour: darker than the Mont Redon above. Nose: More herby, riper dark fruits, evolved with breathing. Palate: Powerful, again Grenache to the fore, also soft but like silk, unbelievably long finish, ripe tannins buried under the fruit, some acidity. As the evening progressed, the wine opened up, the acidity and the tannins disappeared, and a ripe wine was left. Fantastic! One of the best young CNP I have ever had the privilege to taste. 94/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau La Nerthe 1999 red
Colour: good brick red, rim betrays its age. Nose: Tight, closed, not much going on. Palate: Good dark fruits masked by tight, ripe tannins. 85/100 (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau La Nerthe 1995 red
Colour: Deep ruby red, rim is more evolved. Nose: More open, quite herby, full bodied. Palate: open and rich, ripe tannins still present, still needs at least 3 years to develop. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau La Nerthe 1998 red
Colour: deepest ruby of the 3 reds, thick legs running down the glass. Nose: Soft, some herbs, still closed. Palate: Ripe fruit and tannins, powerful on the palate, finish goes on and on. Needs 3 years at least to peak, but drinkable now with decanting. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine Maby 2000 - La Forcadiere - rose - 14%
Blend of Grenache / Mouvedre / Syrah. Nicer than rose at lunch. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine Amido - 2001 - Les Amandines - 14% - rose
Colour: Lighter than previous rose, nearly orange. Nose: Light red fruits. Palate: Soft red fruits, plums, pomegranates, 10 sec+ finish, very nice. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau Mont Redon 1999 red
Colour: Deepish red brick. Nose: quite open with Grenache, herby, some spice. Palate: Ripe tannins, surprisingly open, not as harsh as some 1999's - interesting. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau Mont Redon 1998 red
Colour: Surprising lighter than the 1999 - more Grenache? Nose: More closed, little smell, has it closed up? Palate: richer, ripe tannins, but quite closed. We asked about the drinking window - 2007 - 2018, so we bought a magnum each! (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Coudelet 2000 red
Ripe tannins, good deep colour - needs 5 years. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Beaucastel 2000
bottled 1 week ago. Seemed hard and unyielding on the nose / palate. Very bright colour. This had suffered bottle shock and had really withdrawn. The effect was really marked. Also tasted a tank sample: Much better, richer tasting, almost drinkable now, still open. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Beaucastel 1998.
Huge brooding giant of a wine. Very closed, but with a bit more nose. Needs 5 years at least. Darkest of the wines up to now. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Beaucastel 1983
Mike opened this up in front of us to show a couple of pointers. Firstly, the nose when it was poured was very animalistic, like hot horses someone had remarked in the past! With some swirling, this soon receded dramatically. It then began to open with tobacco, leather flavours. Drinking now but will keep a further 5 years. Easily 90/100 (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Hommage a Jacques Perrin 2000
Made from the oldest and ripest vines and are very difficult to obtain. They can last for 20-50 years, depending on the style that the buyer prefers to drink them. The 1990 received a perfect 100 point score from Parker. Weighing in at 15.2%, it was nearly black in colour, closed nose, unbelievable silky, very ripe finish that lasted over 1 minute - what a great wine! 96/100+ (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Clos des Papes Petit vin d'Avril rouge
Non vintage blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carignan! What an interesting blend! Animal nose, rich fruit, ready to drink, nice, 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Clos des Papes Red 2000
Colour: Deep red and bright. Nose: herby, mostly Grenache. Palate: red berry fruits, v.soft tannins, has not closed down, surprisingly drinkable. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 CNP from Domaine Marcoux 1998
Dark, dense. Think, sweet, overripe Grenache. It got sweeter as the meal progressed. Neither of us enjoyed this over-extracted sweet fruit bomb. No offence to those who like this style, but this is not what Chateauneuf du Pape should be about, in my humble opinion. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de Vieux Telegraphe Vieux Mas des Papes 2000 rouge
1 year in cement, 10 months in foudre [oak], then bottled. Colour: bright ruby red. Nose: Garrigue, mostly Grenache. Palate: V.soft red berry fruit, 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de Vieux Telegraphe Domaine La Roquette - 1999 rouge
Colour: Deep ruby red - nice. Nose: Wow! Wild nose of animals, must be the 10% Mouvedre that has not closed down yet. Palate: Rich tannic taste with a short 5 seconds finish. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Vieux Telegraphe - 1999 rouge
Colour: darkest red of all tasted here. Nose: Again, quite a savage wild animal smell, like hot horses. Very strong. Palate: Velvet, ripe tannic red fruits, 20 second + finish. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine Chante Cigale Red Vieilles vignes 1999
80% old vine Grenache, 5% Mouvedre, 10% syrah, 5% cinsault. Colour: deep plum red, almost opaque. Nose: again, old vine Grenache dominant. Palate: Soft, closed, velvet, ripe tannins hidden well. Drink 2007 - 2015. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de Pegau cuvee Lawrence 1995 red
Decanted 1 hour in advance. Colour: deep, opaque, nearly black. Nose: comforting black fruits and Grenache, powerful. Palate: I took the first sip and I congratulated my friend on his excellent choice. This was why we came to CNP, to try great wines like this. My notes are a bit hazy at this point, but this was a good wine, no doubt at all. It so impressed us that we promised to visit the domaine next morning. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine Pegau 2000 De Capo - red
This is top old vine cuvee made only in top years. Straight from cask - only 5 barriques made, each holding about 30 cases. Nearly black colour, this is the best wine I have ever taste young or from barrel. Finish went for minutes. I scored this 99+/100. All sold out in the UK, as I tried to buy some later. No wonder Robert Parker scored this wine 96-98+ points! (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau Fortia 1999 red
Colour: deep brick red. Nose: deep red colour, long 'legs', aniseed. Palate: red berry fruits, 15 second finish. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau Fortia 1997 red
Colour: slightly lighter than the 1999. Nose: More animal, garrigue, like wild herbs. Palate: Velvet taste, not as powerful as 1997. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de la Mordoree Cotes du Rhone - rose - 2001
Colour: very light pink. Palate: strawberries, enjoyable. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de la Mordoree Tavel - rose - 2001
Colour: slightly darker pink. Nose: soft, ripe, raspberries. Palate: no acidity, extended raspberries, pomegranates. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de la Mordoree Lirac - 2000 red
Colour: very dark, due to blend of Grenache, Mouvedre and syrah. Nose: herby, quite closed. Palate: soft mouth feel, ripe tannins, very good. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de la Mordoree CNP - 2000 - Cuvee de la Reine des Bois
Colour: dark, opaque, nearly black. Nose: stewed meat, black fruits, black plums. Taste: ultra ripe tannins surrounded by red and black berry fruits, 30 second + finish. This was made from 80% Grenache and some Syrah and Mouvedre. My score 96/100. Robert Parker has scored this 96-98+, as I found out back in London. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de la Mordoree CNP 2001 - Cuvee de la Reine des Bois - cask sample
Colour: amazingly dark, totally opaque, with legs like Cindy Crawford (perfectly formed). Nose: quite closed but some herb. Palate: Wow! Iron fist in a velvet glove, so easy to drink for such a concentrated wine, will be an absolute classic. I cannot taste any alcohol, like turbo-charged ribena (a still blackcurrent drink popular with children). 98+/100 (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Coudoulet de Beaucastel, CdR Rouge 1994
At or just past its peak, this. Well-made, ripe red berries on the nose, nice weight and mature flavours on the palate and a decent finish. Slightly dull. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

08/02 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape 1998
Lightish ruby colour to the eye. An evolved soft peppery mulberry, cherry/raspberry scented nose. This is not a dumb wine, but rather an expressive wine with cherry, sweet 'n' sour raspberry notes, mulberry fruit with a great fleshy texture and 14% abv. A somewhat complex, but mainly interesting palate which seems ready to drink now but no doubt will age for at least 10 years, maybe more. Full bodied, alcoholic & drinkable now. Lovely stuff at this stage, just a pity about the price. In all an intriguing wine. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

08/02 Cotes du Ventoux Rose, Domaine de Fondreche 2001
This wine is remarkable. Quite a deep pink, and a lovely, lively fruity nose, despite its high alcohol, I didn't find it heavy at all, just concentrated and edging to a pleasing fatness. Crisp enough acidity and pleasing length which didn't tail off or sour like I find roses often do. Not complex, but highly enjoyable. Good Plus/Very Good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

08/02 1999 Vieux Télégraphe, Château-Neuf-du-Pape Le Crau
Deep garnet, just a little redder at the edges. Nose has toasty oak and perhaps some VA on the first couple of sniffs. As the nose develops, it becomes much more savoury than fruity. Palate is very sweet and succulent with red fruits at the top end and black cherry lower down. There is good acidity, but it imparts a slightly harsh metallic effect to the long finish. Tannin is not the smoothest, but of course it's more important what it will be like in 5+ years. Given the excellent fruit, this could be very fine in time. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 Chateauneuf de Pape 1992, Vieux Telegraphe
Clear colour, cherry red with only a hint of age at the rim. Very large gamey, earthy nose with a reductive hint which was never intrusive. The wine surprised with a rich full expansive mouthfeel, with truffley, gamey flavours and a long long smooth finish. very good/excellent. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

07/02 1999 Domaine Bonserine, Côte Rôtie Les Moutonnes
Deep purple heart with ruby rim. Nose is very special - behind a thin veil of toasty oak there is cherry pie with cinnamon and cream. The palate is not oakily fat, but has plenty of concentrated fruit, very good acidity and medium tannins. This is definitely a more-ish wine. Creamy finish is nicely long. Excellent wine with very sympathetic use of oak. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 Gigondas 2000, Ch de Saint-Cosme
Having had the 1999 recently, I found this to be a more refined example, equally delicious but in a different style, perhaps because of its youth. This was broody and dark, with a tight but approachable nose of dark fruits, a gorgeous weight and richness in the mouth and lovely ripe, sweet but not oversweet length. Very good indeed. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

07/02 CdR 2001, Les Deux Albion, Ch de Saint-Cosme
Deep purple/black colour. Reductive nose which with some aeration (and a 2 cent piece) developed into a serious, structured wine on the palate, bursting with dark red fruit flavours. Good length. Very good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

07/02 Château Fortia Châteauneuf-du-Pape Tête de cru 1988
Colour is medium purple. Quite reductive nose with hints of old wood, but also juicy currant juice and coulis. Also a good impression of freshness and young fruit in mouth, but a bit odd, both too reductive and too dusty, with woody tannins and generous sweet fruit as of fruit syrup. Slightly diluted note on finish. A bit past its prime? (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Château Fortia CndP Tête de cru 1989
Perhaps the lightest in colour of the three older vintages. Not so complex on the nose, slightly faded and immediate, though the old wood is not as obtrusive here as in the 1988 and the wine gains interest with time in the glass. There's a port-like note of almond and plum. More interesting aromatically but less intense in mouth than the 1988 and probably a bit hollow structurally. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Château Fortia CndP Tête de cru 1990
Nose starts with some bell pepper and lettuce notes, which are not too pleasant. Then evolves into a more predictable profile of mushrooms, soy sauce and dust, but not convincing because too warm in character. Rather hard in mouth as well. Will perhaps open up aromatically, the texture is dense and solid. Probably more Mourvèdre than usually. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Château Fortia CndP 1998
Mainly Grenache and Syrah with 5% Mourvèdre. Nose is a bit muted or faded, as if veiled, with rather modest notes of griotte, smoke and rubber. Quite interesting. Juicy, warm fruit in mouth, mildly spicy but not peppery, again with some bell-pepper and bacony, almost petrolly oak touches. Rather tight and needs three more years. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Château Fortia CndP 1999
Recently bottled and still suffering a bit. Petrol and bacon oak fat, quite light and airy orange fruit character for a 1999 Rhône and apparently not too huge. Sweet but juicy fruit in mouth with some acidity showing, quite open here despite some almondy extraction still evident. Sseems more easily appreciable than either the 1998 or 2000. Slightly spicy mouthfeel. Good, convincing wine. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Château Fortia CndP 2000
Barrel sample. Beautiful dark purple. Very tight and difficult to assess, some dried and salted meat, quite pure spiciness of cinnamon and orange. Seems purer in expression than the 1999. Juicy in mouth despite the prominent oak fat. Structure clearly not at the level of the 1999, rather on the soft side but not any worse for that. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Domaine Georges Vernay Côte-Rôtie 1999
Some bacon and sour cherry on the soft nose. Seems more typical than individual. Dominated by the oak now but promising. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Gigondas, Chateau de Saint-Cosme 1999
Lovely purple colour. Tight nose (even after six hours' decanting) which developed in glass to blackberry liqueur notes. In the mouth, fat and rich, alcoholic at 14% but not feeling particularly "hot" because of sufficient acidity. Heady, though, and a lovely ripe Grenache flavour of sweet raspberries. Very good. (Matthew Mellor , UK)

06/02 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Dom du Vieux Telegraphe 1993
I guess I expected more vigour from this. It was quite rich and had good balance with classic Rhone flavours (though I would have made it a seven to ten year old Northern Rhone at a push). Matched the chicken supreme very well which I guess indicates that it wasn't a blockbuster. Very pleasant drinking though. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

06/02 Cornas, Dom Louis Bernard 1998
Really rather good for a mass-producer! Biting and rasping at first, it mellowed after a few hours into a ripe and vigorous wine of decent concentration and depth. Strong redcurrant fruit notes and pleasing length. Not bad for seven quid - NB I'm not a Northern Rhone aficionado. Good plus/Very good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

06/02 Cave des Clairmonts Crozes-Hermitage 1999
Transparent but quite dark. Pleasant almondy soft nose, juicy, dark in character but vegetabley and vaguely unripe, another over-produced wine I thought. L7. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Chateau de Beaucastel 1988
my favourite vintage. Definitely needed 1-2 hours decanting. Then a beautiful nose of leather, peat, blackberry & ink. Palate has a lovely balance, fine acidity and excellent rounded black fruits with notes of leather. V sublime and sophisticated. Mature now but has a good few year ahead of it. Superb! (22/25) (Neal Martin, UK)

06/02 1999 Clos de l'Oratiore des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Deep ruby colour. Nose is a really interesting mix of leathery notes at the bottom with sweet black and red fruits higher up. Good broad palate with plenty of fruit, medium tannins and medium acidity. The acidity gradually seems more noticeable, but I think it's just because the finish is becoming a little astringent. Enjoyed this, but it was better without food. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1999 Etienne Pochon - Crozes Hermitage
Dark Purple, Dense damson/blueberry nose,earthy rich palate of blueberries and spice with fine tannins and lush ripe fruit but excellently balanced by acid that makes it very moreish. Drinking well now after decanting, but will last for a while. V Good, especially at £7 from the Wine Soc. (Stephen Pickles, UK)

06/02 F. & D. Brunier Le Pigeoulet des Brunier VdP de Vaucluse 2000
80% Grenache, 10% Cabernet, 5% Cinsault and 5% Syrah, from the Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe people. Medium purple. Typical Rhôneish peppery nose which lacks some intensity. Elegant but slightly opaque palate, slightly hard on the finish, if quite intense. A serious, masculine, quite pleasurable wine. L5.40. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Domaine des Gavelles VdP des Bouches du Rhône 2000
Grenache and Cabernet. Very good pure raspberry-violet colour. Very soft nose, seemingly oaked, with hints of fat strawberry fruit. Palate showing some bell-pepper notes, quite hefty and full-bodied, also a bit too warm in character. A bit of griotte cherry intensity. Good. L5. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Château Valcombe Côtes du Ventoux Signature 1999
Medium but rather opaque purple. Nose is rather closed with just a bit of paint showing. Austere in mouth, though intense and pure with notes of very ripe cherry, not terribly focused, if long, finishing with a bit of bitter tannins. Not bad. L6.25. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine Durieu 1999
This wine gave me a headache, and I only had one glass. An extremely potent wine, heady on the nose, and explosive in the mouth. My beef about it was that, despite its ebullient fruit, it lacked focus (not the opinion of RP Jnr, I have to say), but this desperately needed not just food, but the right food (and about twenty glasses of water) and there just isn't a vegetarian dish I know which could cope. A strange wine, in that one could sense it was good, but not a pleasure to drink. RP feels it's drinkable now, but I would leave it five years to mellow out. Good plus. (picked up for 74FF in Leclerc, a vg price). (Matthew Mellor, UK)

05/02 Cave de Tain L'Hermitage La Croix Dujoug Hermitage 1995
In last years 20% off French I bought the 1994 of this and was underwhelmed, but this year whoopee! What a little beauty. Gorgeous animal, strawberry nose and a sweet finish. Very nuch like the 1991 Thalabert I had at Xmas but with less guts. Still at about £9 after discount this was a lovely drop. 13% abv. £12.49 Tesco (Daron Fincham, UK)

04/02 Cotie Rotie La Landonne 1990, Rene Rostaing
For my taste this was too young and not as good as the Flora, but wee brother found this a better wine. Slightly floral in the nose, there was lots of meat, leather and fruit. Opened up over a couple of hours, and was starting to drink very well by the end of the bottle. Good, but Flora Spring just had that better balance and complexity. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

04/02 Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape 1998
I didn't think I was going to like this, but its actually very good. Not a terribly expressive nose. Clear, pastel shades of red and brown lead on to a soft palate with a sweet finish. As the jazz club guy on the Fast Show would say, nice. 13.5% abv. £12.74 after discount at Tesco (Daron Fincham, UK)

04/02 Châteauneuf de Pape Cuvée Étienne Gonnet 1996, Domaine Font de Michelle
Dense purplish red. Ripe blackcurrants with hints of licorice on the nose. Rich succulent palate of cassis and cherries over a mineral background. Nice soft ripe finish of good length. Very good. Drink now - 2008. (Paul Anderson, UK)

04/02 Jaboulet Hermitage "La Chapelle" 1982
Well it was a lovely orange colour with a wonderful nose of stewed damsons with a touch of raspberry preserve (Mrs. Fincham also detected olives "not the pitted kind" she said). I thought it relatively light to medium bodied (it had thrown a reasonable sediment - which I drank, Tom) and the savoury, meaty nose was also relected on the palate. Nice classy wine. Alcohol unknown. £34 from Nickolls and Perks (in a sale, about 4 years ago). (Daron Fincham, UK)

04/02 Cornas St. Pierre Jaboulet 1995
Darkest red with a meaty bouquet that tells you instantly you are in presence of something great. It makes me think of a warm room with velvet and leather chairs where I would like to rest awhile. The palate is multifaceted with great earthy rustic Cornas character, red fruits, with the fresh acidity of a young white wine and perfectly structured tannins. Will continue to improve over the next few years. Definitely the best Cornas and perhaps up there with some of the best Rhones I have had, although I only had one glass, and had to make do with sniffing the bottle after that. Many thanks to me host for pulling this one out of his cellar! (Charles Adams, UK)

04/02 Jaboulet Côte Rôtie Les Jumelles 1997
Quite a light, lifted spicy nose with some caramel character and a touch of herbal savouriness. The medium-bodied palate shows raspberry fruit with firm spicy tannins, and noticeable oak character. A firm wine, but quite warm and rounded at the same time. Attractive but not top-notch. Very good+ (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 Gerin Côte Rôtie 'Champin le Seigneur' 1997
A huge wine. Big, forward toasty nose with vivid fruit and a fair whack of toasty, roasted oak - it's still quite perfumed and expressive, though. The palate is dense, youthful and very spicy, with bags of fruit and firm tannins. Needs time to resolve, but this is impressive stuff, despite the prominent oak. Very good/excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 Gilles Remiller Côte Rôtie 1998
Lovely nose: quite savoury and spicy with some earthy character and just a hint of green olive character. Relatively rich. The palate shows taut, spicy notes suggesting a little oak influence, but with good acidity, tannic structure and raspberry fruit. Potential here. Very good/excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 Gaillard Brune et Blonde Côte Rôtie 1997
Slightly closed nose with some savoury, earthy green-olive character. The palate is savoury and rich but with a firm underpinning of acidity, some raspberry fruit and a hint of caramel. It's quite austere, really, but still an impressive, expressive wine. Very good/excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 Clusel-Roch Côte Rôtie 1996
Subtelty is the key here. Lovely perfumed, forward nose shows meaty, savoury fruit and good acidity. The medium-bodied palate is a little light, with good acidity. An attractive drinking wine; not a blockbuster. Very good/excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 Champet Côte Rôtie La Viaillère 1998
This is a relatively pale bright red colour; this immediately sets it apart from the other wines. It has a very attractive sweet, fragrant nose with a spicy edge. The palate shows soft ripe fruit, firm (but fine-grained) tannins and a mineralic edge. Subtle, but quite structured. Very good/excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 JP & JL Jamet Côte Rôtie 1999
Quite a rich, fragrant nose showing a touch of oak, along with spicy meaty notes. The palate is dense and rich with lots of spicy character and some new oak. With good acid and tannic structure, this is brilliantly balanced with lots of potential. Don't open for another five years as I suspect this is soon to close down. Excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 Burgaud Côte Rôtie 1994
Attractive animal nose is slightly bretty, showing some rusticity. The palate is beginning to dry out, with firm tannins dominant and a very dry finish. Nicely savoury, this is a good food wine, but one which I suspect is past its best. Very good+ (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 De Vallouit Côte Rôtie Les Roziers 1998
Bit of a beast this one, and while some like it, others don't. Quite a striking, pungent green olive nose with lifted acidity. The palate is firmly tannic and a bit austere, with powerful, concentrated meaty flavours and lots of medicinal, green-olive character. It will be fascinating to see this brute of a wine evolve. Very good/excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 Gilles Barge Côte Rôtie Cuvée du Plessy 1999
Wonderful nose: complex, smoky and spicy with perfumed meaty, green-olive character. The palate is spicy and tannic, but with lots of rich, savoury fruit and no trace of unripeness or austerity. It's rich and juicy and the tannins are fine grained. A brilliant expression of Côte Rôtie. Excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 Rene Rostaing Côte Rôtie Cote Blonde 1991
Surprisingly deep coloured for an 11 year old, this shows a subtle nose of spice, leather and herbs, with a touch of caramel. The palate is savoury and rounded, quite spicy and nicely balanced. Quite oaky and showing some warmth on the back of the palate, my criticism would be that it's hard to detect a great deal of regionality in this wine. Still, it's a delicious drop, and drinking well. Very good+ (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/02 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1990
In the light - a deep purple (?!?). The nose suggested slightly dusty tones (or was it soft crushed black pepper anyone?) and showing powerful notes of mulberry/violet, good smoky grilled meat observations, certainly some tar & with a touch of balanced oak. The palate was outstanding giving away immense concentrations of complex sweet black fruit, massive tannins and finishing very long. Beautifully balanced in all. Perhaps with some hours in a decanter the wine would give away much more. IMO the wine (in this tasting) still needs several years yet, unless you like them young. Nowhere near ready but completely captivating (if there were any dregs left, it would be interesting to see how the wine had evolved in the morning). Distinguished never the less. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

04/02 Chapoutier Crozes Meysonnieres '95
Seemingly fully developed and peaking on the nose with leathery/undergrowthy notes along with simple fruit, the palate was somewhat mean and possibly drying out. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage VV '96
Dense, open and yet starting to develop far more along the lines of a Hermitage - a wine far above it's station and still very much on the up. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Chapoutier Hermitage Sizeranne '95
Seemed pretty well developed on the nose, but again on the palate the cracks were beginning to show. A true example or just this bottle? (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Chapoutier Hermitage Sizeranne '96
For a short time had a similar nose to the '95, but after a very short while the differences became apparent, with the '96 seemingly becoming fuller and more youthful, while the fairly high acid on the palate integrated well with a bit more time to make for a lovely example of Hermitage. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Mont Olivet CndP '78
Too far over on the nose, oxidation and decay, and on the palate also decayed and for me drying out - although it had some fans and I could see it did still have a core of fruit which was attractive, but for me it's not holding up. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Gugial Hermitage La Landonne '87
Gone in a different way, complex oaky notes on the nose and still a sweetness left on the palate, but I thought that oak and not fruit: a somewhat tiring oaky shell of a wine. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Chave Hermitage '91
Big wine and still on the up. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Chave Hermitage '94
In its prime. Came with a lovely open nose and palate with elegance and sweetness of fruit. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Chave Hermitage '97
Clear similarity too the '91. You'd certainly have no trouble convincing me this is a World class wine: but this is real style and not in the slightest forced, really perfect food wines, and I'm sure great drinking in their own right. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

03/02 Cornas Chaillots 1996, Thierry Allemand
Deep dark red. Mature farmyard aromas with cherries, cassis and green olives. Ripe sweet cassis fruit initially, giving way to quite a nice slightly bitter flavour of olives and spice. Very ripe soft tannins with the sweetness coming back on the finish. Good +. Drink now - 2004. (Paul Anderson, UK)

03/02 Perrin Vacqueyras 1999
Dark purple, Damsons,tar, aniseed and spicy nose. Palate is hard work and the tannins predominate but this is tarry,earthy with herbs and olives and a solid core of damson fruit . A slight touch of brett adds some interest. I think this needs 2/3 years but it will be V Good. 80% grenache,20% syrah (Stephen Pickles, UK)

03/02 1996 Jean-Luc Colombo, Cornas Les Ruchets
Almost opaque garnet colour right to the rim. To start with the nose is quite dumb, a little toasty oak and bacon fat but not much else. The palate is oaky sweet with good acidity, medium tannin and a nice mouthfeel. Roasted black fruit comes through on a finish that is on the long side of medium. With a little aeration and time, the nose pads out with alcoholic dark plum, and fresh bread. The palate oaky and a little one-dimensional, I wanted to like this (because everyone was so negative) but it should be better for £20. (Bill Nanson, Switz.)

03/02 Gilles Barges Côte Rôtie Cuvée du Plessy 2000 (cask sample)
Bright purple/red colour. Expressive, vivid pepper spice nose with a smoky edge. The palate is tannic and firm with some spicy meatiness. Very savoury and quite clean, with what appears to be some oak sticking out. Not as good as the 1999, I found this a little disappointing. Very good+ (£180; £19) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Rene Rostaing Côte Rôtie Cuvée Classique 2000 (cask sample)
Vivid purple colour. Very spicy, caramel-edged nose is quite oaky. Woody, spicy palate with firm, dusty tannins. Lean and savoury, this is currently wood dominated and unintegrated. Very good (£220; £22.91) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Jean-Paul & Jean-Luc Jamet Côte Rôtie 2000
There's a lovely meaty savouriness to the nose, which is showing some attractive green olive character. Perfumed. The rich, meaty, savoury palate is showing some wood, together with a spicy, tannic structure. Not a great wine, but a lovely Côte Rôtie. Very good/excellent (£POA) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 L. de Vallouit Côte Rôtie Les Roziers 1998
Really attractive nose (still a little closed) of meaty, green olive, savoury notes. Beautifully savoury palate with some more meaty, green olive character, a medicinal edge and high acidity. Quite a challenging wine, flirting with greenness, and really needs food. Very good/excellent (£280; £28.78) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Domaine de Colombier Crozes Hermitages Cuvée Gaby 2000
Lovely expressive meaty nose is vivid and intense, with just a touch of green olive character. The palate is rich, chunky, meaty and savoury. With some tannic structure this is an attractive wine in a delicious savoury style. Very good/excellent (£80; £9.20) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Domaine de Colombier Crozes Hermitages Cuvée Gaby 1999
Really attractive nose is quite perfumed with a meaty edge. The chunky, savoury palate is meaty and spicy, with the fruit still backed up by firm tannins. Very good/excellent (£80; £9.20) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Domaine de Colombier Hermitage 2000 (cask sample)
This is a stunning effort. With pure, intense raspberry fruit on the nose, this is quite striking. The palate shows deep, concentrated raspberry fruit, underpinned by a savoury acid and fine tannin structure. A delicious, deep wine; unusual and appealing. Excellent (£220; £22.91) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Michel Chapoutier Hermitage La Sizeranne 2000
Expressive nose is quite sweet with lots of spicy oak and some savoury fruit. Attractive medium-bodied, chunky palate is currently a bit woody. Lacks real intensity? Very good+ (£150; £16.06)

03/02 Michel Chapoutier Hermitage La Sizeranne 1990
Mature, evolved nose of tea, leather, and herbs with a sweet edge. With some spicy tannins, the palate is medium bodied and quite balanced. Drinking well now, but not one to hold onto for much longer. Quite light for Hermitage and vastly overpriced. Very good+ (£480; £48.37) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Michel Chapoutier Ermitage Le Meal 1999
Deep coloured. The nose shows firm, spicy, savoury fruit but is currently a bit closed. Good concentration on the palate, which is nicely savoury with rich fruit and spicy, dusty new oak. Fine grained but firm tannins. Not my favourite style, but has potential for development. Absurdly expensive though. Very good+ (£900; £89.50) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Noel Verset Cornas 2000
Octogenarian Noel Verset still makes some of the best examples of Cornas, in a traditional style. This is a bright purple colour with an arresting savoury/meaty nose showing forward green olive notes. The palate shows a great concentration of pure Syrah fruit: dense, meaty and intense. Firm tannins. Superb stuff, and very satisfying. Very good/excellent (£150; £16.06) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot 2000
Deep, vivid purple. There's a sweetness to the fruit on the nose, which is a tiny bit awkward at this infant stage, and shows a lifted acid edge. Juicy, chunky, bright fruit on the palate with firm tannins and good acidity. A bit awkward now. Very good+ (£200; £20.95) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard 2000
Youthful, lifted acid on the nose, which is a bit closed. Rich, chunky tannic palate with a good concentration of dense fruit; almost unapproachable now. Potential here. Very good+ (£220; £22.91) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard 1999
A huge wine. Slightly closed, savoury nose has deep fruit and spicy notes. Concentrated, savoury, spicy tannic palate. Very youthful with lots of potential. Good balance, but currently unapproachable. Very good/excellent (£220; £22.91) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard 1998
Still closed but opening a little. Intense, focused, meaty fruit on the nose, which is very savoury and spicy. The palate shows lovely, savoury, meaty Syrah and firm, bright, spicy tannins. Great concentration and lots of potential here. Very good/excellent (£200; £20.95) (Jamie Goode, UK)

02/02 Côte Rôtie 1989 Burgaud
Earthy aromas of tar and black fruits. Well integrated palate of black fruits and spice moving into a lovely soft full and long finish. 17/20 (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 1989 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape
Lovely, sweet, rich fruit on the nose, very nice. Tobacco, muscovado sugar opening up too. Gorgeous texture of ripe sweet fruit and chocolaty notes on the palate, added to by cool minty, eucalypt flavours after 20 mins or so in the glass. Good subtle acidity and lovely finish. OK, I thought this was a top class left bank Bordeaux from the 70s. Oh well. Excellent wine. (Stephan Muller, UK)

02/02 Colombier Crozes-Hermitage 'Cuvée Gaby' 1999
Lovely bacon fat and mineral laden black fruited nose. Lovely fruit matched to nicely weighted supporting structure. Giveaway at £8 en-primeur price. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

02/02 Gilles Barge Cote-Rotie Curvee-du-Plessy 1999
Lovely nose of subtle peach and fresh black fruits. Suppleness on palate matched with fine structure and good length. Way, way too easy (in a good way) to enjoy for a wine so young. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

02/02 Vallouit Cote-Rotie Les Roziers 1998
Nose of smokey(woody), overworked barrels and dry currantly fruit on the palate. Best on finish where it shows a fair whack of very persistant tannin but greater sweetness and promise of development too, although perhaps not in the short term (Nick Alabaster, UK)

02/02 Châteauneuf du Pape, Les Cedres 1990, Paul Jaboulet-Ainé
A: Deep ruby red. N: Spicy, cherry jam nose. P: Round ripe fruit flavours of red cherry jam. Quite full and alcoholic with a sweet cherry and spice finish. Tannins almost completely evolved. S: In isolation it tasted very good. However, when tasted alongside the others I downgraded it to good+. Drink now - 2005. (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 Châteauneuf du Pape, Les Galeans 1990, Brunier
A: Deep dark red. N: Cassis, redurrants and hints of leather. P: Rich dark fruits and spice with a full body and stalky spicy finish with hints of violets. Good structure. S: Very good. Now - 2007. (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 Châteauneuf du Pape, Domaine du Vieux-Télégraphe 1990, Brunier
A: Dark red. N: Jammy, peppery nose with hints of blackberries. P: Big, full rich alcoholic palate with lots of ripe jammy fruit and dry spices and big tannins on the finish. Well structured and seems to be built for the long term. S: Very good+. Now - 2015. (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 Châteauneuf du Pape, Clos des Papes 1990, Paul Avril
A: Dense brooding dark red. N: Lots of leather, spice and sweet cherry on the nose. P: Awesome palate with big, rich, spicy cherry and blackberry flavours. Taut structure and balance going into a long rich finish. S: Excellent/outstanding. Built for the long term. Now - 2015+ (Paul Anderson, UK)

01/02 Châteauneuf du Pape, Clos du Pape 1998
Similarly on the palate: ignoring the youth of the Pape, Yquem's vast, steam-roller force seems only part of its unruffled perfection: you don't have to make an effort, searching for flavours, because they come to you, and they taste of Yquem, or in other words, everything. The pape is if anything more full-bodied, but it is a set of separate components. (George Horton, UK)

01/02 Jaboulet, La Chapelle, 1997
Dark purple colour. A surprisingly open nose with smoke, sausages, white pepper and blueberries. Spicy, very dry, some tannins, violets and a "green" finish. I am not saying that the wine is bad, far from it, but I had expected a lot more. It feels rather thin, and I hope for some complexity with aging. 87p? (tasted in August) (Roderick Hopkins, Sweden)

01/02 Mont Redon CdR 2000
Deep purple to the rim with a light fruity nose with ripe berry fruits and light spice on the nose. Very fresh with sweet fruit. Well balanced with spice, medium weight and an abundance of black currants on the palatte. Medium acidity and tannind and good length. (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Mont Redon Lirac 1999
Deep ruby red with purple tinge and a full and earthy nose of strong sweet fruit, esp;ecially black cherry and quite soft. The earthiness folows through on the palatte with a cinnamon spice and medium acidity. Well structured tannins and a savoury taste along with sweet fruits?. Peppery but perhaps a little burnt. (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Dom de Gramenon Les Laurentides 1999
Deep ruby red with purple at the rim. Quite tame on the nose but a richness of fruit showing through, in particular black cherry. Well structured although quite light with spice and pepper. Elegant but somewhat lacking mid palatte. I felt the tannins were bitter but the speaker disagreed (an enthusiast with a 1960's jumper on....) (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Chateau Redortier CDRV B. De Venise 1998
Deep red with brownish hues although quite bright. A closed nose with hints of spice, black fruits and savouriness. Quite light and peppery on the palatte with meat flavours. Tannins a bit furry and hints of bitterness, almost mouldy, probably due to it's youth. (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Gigondas Dom. de Cassin 1999
Thick, glycerol and solid colour. Good depth of flavour on the nose with leather, brambles and spice. Silky smooth tannins which are well integrated although perhaps a bit firm on secon thoughts. Black fruits predominate on the palatte which are ripe and sweet. A well structured wine with a lovely mouth feel. (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Gigondas Cuvee des Blanches. Dom des Espiers 1999
Deep, dark and vivid red with a meaty, almost raw fillet steak bloody nose to it. Herbs showing through in this powerful gamey nose. On the palatte thick and well structured with intense tight tannins and a full rich and savoury taste. Gripping tannins with massive flavour and good acidity. Years ahead of this one.... (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 CNDP Mont Redon 1998
A lighter red but very bright. A sweet caramel nose with spice, leather and vanilla. Very creamy on the palatte and smooth. Well balanced with good texture and spicyness, interlaced with deep ripe berries and cassis with great length. (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1987
A good deep red colour, though fading at the rim to brick-red, but surprisingly dark considering the age and the reported weakness/dilution of the vintage. On the nose, a typical mature Syrah, still good fruit (maybe hints of raspberries and darker fruits even). On the palate, a wine clearly beyond its peak, tiring somewhat, but with enough structure and concentration to remain a very pleasing and vibrant mouthful of prickly spices and slightly subdued but rich fruit, with lovely weight (light but elegant) and a good finish. While remaining bottles should be drunk soon, it will be a pleasure to drink them. Rating: Very good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

01/02 Jaboulet Hermitage "La Chapelle" 1997
This is like a Clam and has shut down as well. This '97 was a lovely youngster 18 months ago. Only slight nauseous left now, with hints of sweet raspberry, new leather and smoky earth. Leave for 10+ years to re-emerge. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/02 Vieux Telegraphe 1998
14%abv. I have always liked VT's but this promising '98 vintage on this tasting tended to start going a little jammy with a slightly new world feel even with a good airing. Medium crimson colour. Youthful nose of undergrowth, blackcurrant and some cherry while the drink, although a little young, was full bodied and fairly tannic and at this point a slight farmyard feel to it. This is the worst out of the 3 bottles drunk so far. The rest of my stash will be kept for at least 5-10 years. Should be excellent in time. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/02 St Joseph Pierre Gonon 1999
Ripeblack fruit nose with touch of pepper-unfortunately slightly corked but still drinkable-concentrated palate black cherry goodish length-what would it have been like without the corkiness? (Jonathan F, UK)

01/02 Chateauneuf du Pape Domainine Charvin 1999
Incredibly this wine had both a mature nose and palate - gamey nose with hints of chocolate. Palate ripe soft black cherry and prunes-very soft tannins. Elegant not big. Long smooth finish. (Jonathan F, UK)

01/02 Chateauneuf du pape Domaine de Ferrand 1999
Closed nose the most backward of the three. Hints of Blackcurrants on the nose but more dominant on the palate(which I found unusual for this AC) Slightly more tannic than Charvins but still relatively soft, liquorice and coffee-needs a few years to be at its best.(but only say 2-4yrs) (Jonathan F, UK)

01/02 Ogier Cote-Rotie 1996
A youthful, slightly high-toned fully ripe and somewhat reticent wine with hints of liquorice and meaty notes, but wasn't singing as such. None the less promising depth and length to unwind nicely when it's in the mood. (Nick Alabaster, UK)


12/02 1991 1996 Chateau de la Gardine Chateauneuf du Pape BLANC
I have tasted numerous Hermitage Blanc and various other whites from the Rhone, but never a white CdP Blanc before. I liked this wine quite a bit. Not a big wine but interesting nonetheless. A well put together medium-bodied white with clean fruit and notes of coconut and butterscotch. A slight buttery character enhanced the texture but otherwise no overt signs of oak. I'd drink this again any day. (Roy Hersh, USA)

11/02 Robert Niero 2000 Cuvee de Chery - Condrieu. 14% - £30 (US$45)
Tasted in an ISO tasting glass. The top old vines cuvee from this producer, two out of five barrels aged in new oak. A light yellow, nearly clear appearance. It smells of ripe apricots with peaches in cream in the background. Sweet and slightly alcoholic introduction, diving into a tight, rich and acidic mid palate and a long finish. Very nice, but probably could do with another 1-2 years to round out. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

10/02 1999 Hermitage (blanc) Chevalier de Sterimberg, Paul Jaboulet Ainé £32.95
Fantastic deep gold. What a nose! - gorgeous! Slightly honeyed. Rather light attack. Fresh and clean, but then fills beautifully. Really rich, superbly well balanced. Super length. Excellent. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

09/02 Baronnie D'Estourd 2001 CNP white
Equal blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Muscardin, Picardin and Roussane. Colour: v.light yellow straw. Nose: Very spicy, like walking into the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant, wow! Palate: Ripe melon, off dry, spicy and slightly sweet. Unique and tasty. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau La Nerthe 2001 white
Colour: Light yellow, like very light sand. Nose: Elegant fruit, not powerful. Palate: Mouth feel ok, quite acidic, needs time to settle down. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau La Nerthe Eau de Vie - 40% alcohol
4 white grapes. Spent 8 years in oak barrels. Colour: golden straw. Nose: Powerful, alcoholic, wow! Palate: V.alcoholic, strong, long aftertaste. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine Maby - 1999 La Fermede - Lirac
Colour: light gold. Nose: Fruity. Palate: nice tropical ripe fruit, 10 sec finish. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Prieure de Montezargues - 2000 - Tavel rose - 13.5%
Slightly darker than previous rose, less power on the palate. Ok - 83/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Le Caveau St Vincent - pear liqueur - 17.1%
Colour: Deep gold. ose: pure pear. Palate: smooth pear, does not taste like 17.1%, yummy! 88/100. Just my luck that they have sold out, otherwise I would have bought a couple of bottles! (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Clos des Papes - white 2001
Colour: light yellow, like straw. Nose: Tropical, pineapple, good fruit. Palate: good 10 sec+ finish of ripe fruit, some ripe acidity. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de Vieux Telegraphe La Roquette 2000 - white
Colour: very light melon. Nose: lemon and sherbet. Palate, lemon and sherbet again! 84/100 (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Vieux Telegraphe 2000 - white
Colour: Slightly darker than the first white. Nose: orange, marmalade. Roussane, Clairette, 85/100. Palate: again, citron, acid, sherbet. Good aperitif wine. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine Chante Cigale White 2001
Colour: light yellow. Nose: deep lemon. Palate: Rich lemon and sherbet, good acidity. A blend of white grapes from the area. 85/100 (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine Chante Cigale White 1999 - cuvee special
Colour: golden yellow. Nose: Quince, pear. Palate: Nice pear intro, good fruit, 10 second + finish. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Chateau Fortia 1999 white
Colour: quite bright. Light gold. Nose: honeysuckle mainly, which was the Roussane. Taste: good acidity, with a marzipan finish for 10 seconds. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

08/02 Clairette de Die Cuvee Tradition NV, Jaillance
I usually dislike Muscat flavours, but this was delicious. Light in alcohol but rich in flavour with a good balance and pleasing bubbliness. Not hugely complex but a great glug on a warm late-summer's evening. Wish I'd bought more. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

07/02 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Les Terrasses de l'Empire 2000
Not too dark. Very Viognier on the nose with notes of honey and some herbs. Not too much bitter in mouth withhints of apricot, showing slightly hollow but with an attractive silky texture. Rather weak on the finish. (Nerval, UK)

04/02 Condrieu '99 Closel-Ruch
Fresh, vibrant Condrieu, close to having the floral edge and in now way a heavy, viscous example - but balanced and drinking well. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Hermitage Remiziers Blanc '86
A less than glamorous nose (mazipan and nutty oxidated notes), belied a wonderful, full, fresh and balanced palate with a certain sense of viscousity that make for a great mouthful. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/02 Beaucastel Rousanne VV '99
All about oak on the nose, and disappointing so too strong for me on the palate - I know a potentially great wine is there, having had older versions, but you'd have to be more tolerant (certainly than me) to enjoy it's youth today, but everything seemed to be in order for something good to appear in time. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

03/02 Robert Niero Condrieu Les Ravines 2000
Attractive slightly floral peachy nose, with a soapy edge. Rich fruit on palate with a slightly nutty character. Delicate rounded texture and nice balance. Very good/excellent (£150; £16.06) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Robert Niero Condrieu Cuvée de Chery 2000
Some new wood here, with the wine aged in a mixture of barriques and larger tonneau. Less forward than the Ravines, with a fruity, peachy nose. Nutty, rich palate has a slightly odd edge, perhaps from the wood. Closed at the moment. Very good+ (£180; £19) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Pierre Dumazet Condrieu 1999
Very full tropical fruit nose with a spicy edge. Savoury palate with a bit of spice and a nutty edge. Nice texture. Very good+ (£180; £19) (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/02 Mouton Condrieu Côte Chatillon 2000
L20. Peachy and marzipanny, viscous, slightly buttery Viognier nose here, herbal-bitter, but with two or three extra layers of complexity over the simple Viogniers above. In mouth intense and full-bodied, but less heady and bitter than expected, with a very long juicy finish. Good appley acidity. Lacks just a bit of focus and rather overpriced, but good wine. (Nerval, UK)

01/02 Chapoutier, Chante-Alouette, Hermitage Blanc, 1991
Deep golden colour. Lots of butter on the nose, basement, nutty character with a hint of pop-corns. Fat, buttery, complex, rather different taste that expands and is very long. Hard to tell where this will go from here. 94p (tasted in November) (Roderick Hopkins, Sweden)

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