Opened on the TGV on the way from Lille to Valence, with a group of friends en route to northern Rhone odyssey. Popped and poured, no decanters available on the train I'm afraid. Poured into assembled plastic glasses, very finely rimmed, I might add...
Deep red, no signs of age showing. Nose characteristic Chave, roasted smokey peppery, initial pure blackberry, and then red berries, then organic garrigue, some earthy aromas, leather in the background and then more deep blackberries coated with sugars which accentuate the flavours, but not overripe. 'It just smells like serious wine'. You just want to keep smelling it,
Palate is initially tannic, but immediately fills the mouth with flavours. Fills it, deep and wide. Perfectly ripe, neither over or under, red and black berries pervade, with a deep core pushing down the middle of the tongue. Balance is impeccable, perfect blends of tannin, fruit, acidity. The sous bois carries into the taste, leaving an umami finish that is exceptionally long, a minute and a half plus. My friends think this has provoked an out of body, synaesthetic experience verging on euphoria. The mood very tangibly lifted a notch (it was good to start).
Universally praised wine, everyone wanted to know where the next bottle was. Average rating of the group is 95, I am on the higher end at 96. Pure class.
Credit to my buddies for contributing to the comments in this note - it was a team effort.