Chateau de Beaucastel is arguably one of the best estates in Chateauneuf de Pape. Beaucastel is one of the few (if not the only) estates that use all 13 grape varieties in Chateauneuf du Pape appellation.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the oldest appellation in France, the wines were dated back to the early 14th century which were made for the 7-9 Medieval popes in exile, although viticulture exsisted way before the popes came. Chateauneuf du Pape defines as “The new castle of the pope”, which is very different from the New Castle here in England (giggle if you have visited).
Beaucastel grape varieties: 30% Mourvedre, 30% Granache, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise 5% Cinsault and 5% of the rest of the grape varieties. Most of their vines are more than 100 years old. An interesting point is they start the wine making process by heating the grapes up to 80 degrees Celsius for a short blast before they are fermented. This short blast of heat is to remove the natural yeast and bacteria and slows fermentation; hence they use less amount of sulfur. Having said that, I will now proceed to the Beaucastel reviews.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2012
This beautiful 2012 Chateau de Beaucastel Blanc is 80% Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Picardan, Clairette and Bourboulenc. Aged 70% in tank and 30% in oak.
I love it! A fabulous nose of honey, honeysuckle, sweet flower, tropical fruits leaning towards stone fruits. Peach and apricot on the nose. Hints of grapefruit. Subtle oak aromas. Pronounced and youthful.
Dry, high good zesty acidity, high alcohol. Medium plus bodied. Warm. Medium plus wet stone finish. Almost like butterscotch. Some savoury nutty notes, and a little bit of vanilla.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes 2011
This famous Roussanne is sensational! Hand picked grapes from VERY OLD vines. Pronounced scented tropical fruits, mango, honey, grapefruit and marmalade. Aromatic light golden liquid. 50% fermentation in tank and 50% in oak. It has gone through malolactic fermentation to give the wine more richness. 50% aged in tank and 50% in oak barrel. 6000bottles were produced in 2011.
Dry, remarkably low acidity, high alcohol. Full-bodied, creamy, cheesy. A big style on the palate. Tropical notes as well. Some toasty oak.
Can drink now, recommend decanting it for a few hours before drinking.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes 2010
Tasted blind - Lots of freshness, green apple, sappy minerals and white flower tone. Punchy alcohol with lovely acidity, distinctive Roussanne aromas. Fairly confident to guess it's a Southern Rhone white, Beaucastel Blanc from 2011-2012?
This Roussanne VV is very well made, and needs longer bottle ageing.
2010 Beaucastel had a super low yield. There was a huge problem with flowering and lack of watering didn’t help. There were 55days above 30 degrees Celsius, 46 days of frost. But thankfully the summer rainfall was the lowest since a really long time! A 5 star vintage. Big style, a lot of dried fruits. Plenty of black cherries, blackberries, blackcurrant, some red plums. Spice, liquor, liquorice. Oak, charred oak, vanilla, clove. Tobacco, tea leaf.
Medium ruby slightly purple colour. Syrah and Counoise flavour dominant. Dry, high acidity (often Beaucastel wine has higher acidity than the rest of Chateauneuf du Pape), very fresh. Cherries on the palate. Medium minor tannins, high alcohol. Full bodied. Long and fresh juicy finish.
Can drink now, but I would age it for 10-20years. Long delicious finish!
Another 5 star vintage. Huge complexity and lots of layers. A lot of cooked fruits, leathery, and meatiness. Smoked meat. A lot of raisins, blackberries. Oak, dark chocolate, black olives. Driest year for a long time.
Deep ruby colour. Dry, medium plus acidity. Full rich bodied, medium minor tannins and medium plus alcohol. Black fruist, liquor, dark chocolate. Herbs on the palate. Long impressive finish.
Splendid 5 star wine! My favourite vintage of the night! Pronounced smokey and spicy, slightly earthy notes. Spice – cinnamon, clove. Farmyard, smoke. Balanced, structured and layered. A lot of sunshine in 2005. Concentrated.
Medium ruby colour. Dry, medium plus acidity, medium minor tannins. Medium plus alcohol. Full bodied. Lots of dried fruits on the nose. Cranberry, black cherries, blackberries. Tobacco, tea leaf and some star anise on the palate. Still a lot more to come. Cracking!
Can drink now, but will age for another 10years or so.
For those who were in Europe during 2003 summer will understand what I mean by HOT YEAR! A lot of dark fruits. Blackberries, black cherries, black currant. Quite fresh, overripe. Some oak, hints of vanilla and herbs. Cedar and tea leaf.
Dry medium minor/low acidity, medium minor tannins, medium plus alcohol. Full-bodied. Fresh red fruits on the palate. Medium minor fruity, charred wood finish. The finish was like a short burst of fruits in mouth.
Can drink now, but has potential for ageing short term.
Some fault appearing in the wine. First stage of turning into vinegar. Mushroom, acetone, game. This was bought from a private dealer so it might not have been aged in a good condition.
Dry, medium acidity, medium plus alcohol. Medium plus bodied. Smokey on the palate, some game and mushroom. It’s gone… So I can’t possibly do a proper 2001 review.
This vintage shows a lot of development. Full of perfumed red fruits. Dried fruits as well, raisins. Herbs, like walking through a lavender garden. Chocolate. Leathery, gamey note on the nose. Cleaner than 1996 (brettanomyces). 1999 was rainy overall, hot Sepetmber, not a great year. Contrary, 1999 was a great year for Northern Rhone.
Medium garnet colour. Dry, medium BALANCED acidity, medium minor super soft tannins. Good red fruits, gamey. Leather and truffles. Herby long finish. Excellent to drink, balanced and elegant big giant.
Fabulous nose. Aromatic, mushroom and truffle. Like a mature Barolo. Sweaty horse; Brettanomyces stage 2. Very enjoyable for most of us, a few found it unpleasant. A bit perfumed. Generally older Beaucastel has more Brettanomyces.
Dry, medium (-) acidity, medium super soft tannins, medium plus alcohol. Medium plus bodied. Lots of game and smoked meat. Fabulous. Pairs exceptionally well with turkey and red currant sauce, mmmm. Great length.
I would drink soon before it moves on to stronger, unpleasant brettanomyces stage 3.
Nowhere near as aromatice as 1996. Nobody likes rainy harvest. Medium minor pronounced. Dried red fruits, raspberries, hints of bananas. Some smoke, cedar, hints of herb.
Dry, soft medium minor acidity, medium minor tannins, medium plus alcohol. Medium plus bodied. Not much character compared to other vintages. Smooth, elegant, light complexity, not much density, but brilliant. Long herbal lasting.