Jon Hesford's wines arrived in London a few days ago and today I got my hands on them at last. TNs posted over the next few days:
One Block 2009 14% ABV. Composite cork.
Rich and sweet with a good mouthfeel and quite tannic. This has a good balance between sweet fruit and structure. Presumably quite old vines to achieve this level of concentration (or is this a Roussillon thing?). Almost over-ripe, reminiscent of a 90% Grenache Sablet I had around 10 years ago which, when left to age a couple more years was more Chateauneuf-like than many Chateauneufs! Texturally, there is a suggestion of old oak but no toast here, just pure, ripe fruit. Will be better in 6/12 months (note: over the following two nights it evolved but only very gradually) and will drink well until 2016.
Three Peaks 2008 13.5% ABV. Composite cork. Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre/Carignan.
Quite a meaty nose at first (the fruit appeared only after 24 hours!) but the palate is very fruity and quite oaky too (in harmony with the distinguished fruit). Not too heavy and a good finish. The following day, the nose is more evolved but there is more oak and it seems tighter than on day one but by day three it is singing. Drink to 2015.
Le Secret 2008 13.5% ABV. Natural cork. Syrah with 10% each Grenache and Mourvedre.
Very Syrah with a nice dollop of oak on the nose. Lots of black fruit. Quite distinctive, rounded and smooth. Day two: opening up gradually, still quite tannic. Day three: just getting into its stride. To 2016.
Motus 2009 14% ABV. Natural cork. Mourvedre with 10% each Grenache and Syrah.
Very dark in colour. The nose is not very expressive at first although there is clearly oak here alongside the fruit (must bear in mind this has only recently been bottled). The palate shows more immediate potential but really needs a couple of years at least. Day two: quite closed with little on the nose or palate. The fruit is lurking but this really needs time but, then, show me a great Mourvedre that doesn't! Drink to 2018+.
Tahi 2007 14% ABV. Natural cork. Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre.
Thick and dark (the cork end was inky!) and with a more evolved, quite meaty nose (salty bouillon?) and juicier palate. The oak comes through here. Needs a few minutes to open up but has good potential. By day two it is just about there (and doesn't survive the night!). To 2018.
Overall, this is a very pleasing range to be adding to the list (and gives me a good excuse to visit Roussillon!). The quality is high across the range; not once did I think that I would prefer not to be drinking any of the wine. Rather, the question was which one now? All the wines could benefit from further ageing but, having tasted them over a three day period, another thing that struck me is the incredibly slow evolution of all the wines. To be expected with Mourvedre and, to a lesser extent, Syrah but the One Block Grenache was still incredibly fresh after three days.
So, how long do these wines need and how long will they last? I have made my estimations based on my general experience and on Jon's reckoning but I really wouldn't be surprised to see them take longer to come round and to last a lot longer than these conservative estimates.