The “entry-level” syrah in Le Vieux Pin’s portfolio, the cuvée violette has admittedly also been my favourite through the years. I’d happily trade a bit of weight and heft for syrah’s floral-violet, peppery perfume and finesse any day, historically hallmarks of this cuvée that contains a splash of viognier. Yet I find that the 2018 is less ‘violette’ than previous vintages, which is to say closer in style to its more expensive stablemate, the Equinox Syrah. It seems some of that floral perfume and finesse was traded instead this year for more depth and heft. It’s still an excellent wine, fresh and lively, just darker and with more wood spice character than before. Tannins are also a little more grippy, supported by tight acids. I’d suggest cellaring another year or two for maximum enjoyment, or hold into the mid-twenties. Though I do miss that violette.