Domaine Cazes, based in Rivesaltes, is arguably the most famous and most prominent wine producer of Roussillon, the Southern part of the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region of France.
While the House inaugurated their brand-new wine club, named the ‘Club 1895’ after the year of foundation of the winery, I got the rare opportunity to taste a lineup of 9 vintages of their Top-end dry red: Le Credo.
What is Le Credo?
Le Credo comes under the Côtes du Roussillon Villages appellation, and is considered by the winery as their red wine ‘icon’, the one gathering all the producer’s savoir-faire and concentrating the potential of the best fruit available on the estate, if not in the whole of Roussillon.
The best vineyards and grapes of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre are taken care of with special attention and work, in order to produce fine and concentrated wines:
- debudding of the vines
- removal of the secondary “entre-coeur” buds leaving only 3-4 clusters on each vine
- hand harvest in relatively small 10Kg crates
- transport and storage of the grapes overnight at 4°C
- double sorting table selection to remove any undesired element in the harvest
- maceration in 300L open barrels and 500 l barrels with regular pigeages (cap punching)
- pressing in a vertical press
- malolactic fermentation in oak
- 6 months of aging on fine lees in foudres (large oak vats) and Nomblot egg-shaped concrete tanks
- and finally, final blending followed by a further 12 months’ aging in these same vessels.
A bottle of Le Credo typically retails around €40 ($50).
Le Credo Vertical Tasting in Video
Watch the video below for an insight into this rare tasting (9 vintages of Le Credo from 2007 to 2015), or continue on with the full wine review notes underneath.
Vintage Wine Reviews of Le Credo by Domaines Cazes
2007 Cazes Le Credo, Côtes du Roussillon Villages
Score: 91+/100 pts. Intense garnet color, bright red with orange hues, still looking fresh, showing small signs of evolution in its appearance. Intense spicy and fruity nose, black pepper and dark berries dominate. It is also powerfully torrefacted, dark cocoa, coffee, char. Bursting intense flavors of cooked plum, ripe cherry and these torrefacted notes complexified by hints of elegant leather. Long finish. Soft round tannins. Full but elegant body texture. Quite dense, with solid acidity providing freshness and tension to the fruity notes.
2008 Cazes Le Credo
Score: 90+/100 pts. Intense red with both purple and orange hues. Powerful aromas of juicy fresh cherries, spicy pepper, orange peel. Full body, very typical of Southern France, somewhat reminiscent of the fortified Rivesaltes style, with warm and exuberant prune and orange flavors. A warm vintage then it is (or was), marked by ripe Grenache characters of cooked fruits and violet notes. Full body, granulous tannins to the finish.
2009 Cazes Le Credo
Score: 92/100 pts. 09 was a cooler vintage than 07 and 08 (both exceptionally warm even for the region). This one has an elegant nose featuring stonefruit and almond aromas, with touches of floral violet notes. Soft tannins on a round body. The wine is warming but delivers its powerful flavors with finesse and control, one flavor after the other. A layered wine. Controlled power then, but also finesse and complexity. Soft tannins with a granulous feel, saline bitterness to the finish. An excellent vintage if you’re looking at being introduced to Le Credo.
2010 Cazes Le Credo
Score: 91/100 Pts. As we are tasting this 2010 here in June 2017, we are tasting out of 1 of the last 10 bottles of this vintage still in stock in the Cazes winery’s private cellar. These are tasting notes for History then, as you are unlikely to find 2010 Le Credo at a shop although some collectors might have been lucky enough to lay down a few of these. It’s got a subtle, almost restrained of a nose that only lets out soft notes of apricot and blackberry, finely scented with lifted minty tones. Soft tannins on a round body. This is the vintage with the softest tannins so far, almost too young still, still shy. It should develop much further though, with more complexity over the next 5 to 10 years. If you have a bottle of this, hold on to it a little more then 😊
2011 Cazes Le Credo
Score: 93+/100 Pts. Very dark core, intense red to the rim. The nose also is intense, expressive filled with cocoa and sweet spices aroma, prune and dark cherry. Powerful almond and marzipan notes dominate. The palate is bursting with dark chocolate and plum marmalade, on soft and round body. Huge flavor intensity and concentration. It somewhat tastes like a local red fortified wine (a solid Banyuls or Maury) but dry, and probably fresher in fruit characters. An exceptional level of complexity and depth. An exceptional vintage then is this 2011, although unfortunately Cazes doesn’t have any more of it for sale. But buy it if you’re lucky enough to find it somewhere, even a case of it as this should be able to age for a solid 10 years and reach even higher levels of complexity.
2012 Cazes Le Credo
Score: 94/100 Pts. Dark red color. Intense nose, powerfully fragrant with aromas of strawberry jam, dark cherry and white pepper. Somewhat restrained, with an elegant aromatic profile despite its warmth and ripe fruit notes. Dense velvety tannic structure, bringing great tension. The solid acidity balances the power and alcohol well. Extreme flavor concentration, Provencal herbs, citrus peels and nut liqueur. A vintage with outstanding density and a long-lasting potential. This is the current release of Le Credo, so this one you can (and perhaps should) buy. Hold for 5 years at least, and up to 15.
2013 Cazes Le Credo
Score: 92+/100. Dark roasted of cocoa, an intense and deep nose bursting with dark red berries fruit aroma. Smooth velvety texture, solid density, round body and an elegant balance overall. On the palate, explosive coffee and dark chocolate flavors marry mouth-watering ripe and jammy fruits. The finish is definitely juicy and makes you salivate. A delightful vintage displaying great balance, elegant and maturity. Enjoy between 202 and 2035.
2014 Cazes Le Credo
Score: 92-94/100 Pts. The wine tasted here is a sample from the tank. The wine is still resting and maturing at the winery’s cellar, and has not been bottled yet. Great fresh red berry fruit and great refreshing acidity suggest a great overall concentration. Dense and smooth tannins with yet a grippy finish at this stage. A vintage marked by elegance, and a certain potential.
2015 Cazes Le Credo
Score: 93-95/100 Pts. Also tasted a sample out of the tank. The wine is still tight at this stage, but the tannic concentration displayed with great finesse is outstanding. Smooth, fruity and utterly balanced, the 2015 vintage certainly suggests an enormous potential for becoming an outstanding wine. Could this be the best Le Credo wine ever made? Time will tell and it’ll have to be taste again after bottling. But I wouldn’t be surprised it turned out to be the most successful dry red blend ever made by Cazes. Definite answer in a few years.
A conclusion – The best vintages of Le Credo?
There are three good news coming out of this vertical tasting.
The first one? Le Credo is an outstanding wine, one of a few world-class wines coming out of the Roussillon part of Southern France. As a note, if you’re into some of these, I suggest you also check my list of 8 World-Class wines from Languedoc.
Secondly, the current release of the Le Credo, vintage 2012, is the best one that’s ever been sold under this label. So now might be the right time to get introduced to Cazes’ most iconic dry red.
Thirdly, if you’re not quite ready to buy a case of Le Credo, be assured that the overall quality of the wine seems to be constantly increasing while Emmanuel Cazes is ever-more perfecting the blend. The next few years should be ones of recognition for the amount of work, passion and expertise bottled into every flask of Le Credo.