The wines of Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du pape
Another producer visited this June at Vinexpo 2011 that impressed me with its wines, was the Perrin’s booth with its famous Chateau de Beaucastel located in Chateauneuf du pape. This property can qualify as one of the Grand Cru’s of the Chateauneuf du pape – if one would make such a selection.
Their booth was spacious and really nice, with plenty of natural wood used for decorating. It was the only booth that had an ingenious sink like spitting device that made life easier for everybody and did not need a manual emptying. One of the best looking booths of this fair.
The Perrins make also wines labelled as simple Cotes du Rhone. The most interesting and with a great quality/price ratio is the Coudoulet de Beaucastel red and white. Even though the vineyards of Coudoulet are just east of Beaucastel on the other side of the A7 autoroute and the soil is very similar to Beaucastel, the Coudoulet is bottled as a simple Cote du Rhone. The high proportion of Mourvedre insures a good aging potential.
The wines that stood apart during this tasting were the grand vins of Beaucastel. I had the chance to taste three different vintages of red Chateau de Beaucastel and one vintage of whites.
2010 Chateau de Beaucastel Blanc
80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc, whose vines are between 10 and 40 years old. Pale yellow color, the wine impresses immediately on the nose with its rich aromas of roasted hazelnuts and nuts mixed with acacia, honey, lime and exotic spices. Amazing nose. Rich and expressive on the palate, full bodied, with complex flavors of tropical fruits, spice and a nutty character, the wine shows good balance and freshness. The finish is long and intense. I just loved this wine and it was one of the best whites tasted at the fair. (93-94/100)
2010 Chateau de Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes
This “Vieilles Vignes” cuvee is produced in a small quantity entirely from Roussanne vines of at least 65 years of age. Intense yellow color, the wine has a reductive nose. It doesn’t have the rich aromas of the regular Chateauneuf du pape white on the nose at this stage. There is good concentration on the palate, but the wine still seems to be very closed at this stage. It shows good freshness and elegance, but needs a few more years to develop and open up. Medium to long finish. (90/100)
The price of Roussanne Vieilles Vignes is almost double the price of the regular Beaucastel Blanc.
2009 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du pape (rouge)
The wine possess the mark of the 2009 vintage: concentrated, with big alcohol: 15-15.5%, but balanced and incredibly rich. Opaque, dark purple, almost black color, a rich and complex nose, full bodied, with depth and round ripe tannins, multiple layers of flavors on the palate, well mixed fruity and animal flavors, and a long finish. Young and restless for now, but will develop well. (92-93/100)
2008 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du pape (rouge)
Lighter in color than the 2009, exhibiting a deep dark red garnet color. The nose is developed, but less expressive – 2008 was a lesser vintage in Chateauneuf du pape. The wine sports classical aromas of ripe cherry, pepper, garrigue and spices. Medium to full bodied with ripe tannins in the mouth, less concentrated than the 2009, but showing good freshness on the palate and flavors of licorice, graphite and black fruit. Medium to long peppery finish. (90-91/100)
After finishing all the new vintages available for public tasting, the lady that guided me through this tasting, generously brought from the back an unexpected bottle of red 1998 Chateau de Beaucastel and offered me a glass. Great way to observe the differences and see how a Beaucastel can age. Plus, 1998 was a great vintage in Chateauneuf du pape.
1998 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du pape (rouge)
The wine has a nice red garnet color with a light brick meniscus. The nose is well developed and mature, very complex and intense, with big aromas of fruit, garrigue, anise, cinnamon and a bit meaty. Full bodied, rich, fleshy and balanced, it sports depth and freshness on the palate, with ripe tannins and flavors of black cherry, pepper, old leather, musk and earth. Long and lingering finish. Gorgeous mature wine that can hold on like this for a long time. (95/100)
Beaucastel’s top cuvee is Hommage a Jacques Perrin, produced only in the best vintages and made mostly from very old Mourvedre vines yielding tiny quantities of intensely ripe and concentrated fruit. It was made in 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. Don’t ask about the price. Unfortunately I did not taste this cuvee.