Château de Beaucastel, the flagship estate of the Perrin family and masters on the Southern Rhône, makes benchmark Châteauneuf. The best vintages here can age into legendary wines, and an increasing tendency to elegance in the winemaking style of recent years has not gone unnoticed. The Beaucastel vines are all in one large 110 hectare block at the northern end of the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation. The plot contains all the archetypal soil types of the region: sand, clay and limestone, with pudding stone pebbles on the surface. Their Coudoulet vines lie just beyond the northern boundary and convey much of the typicity of a Châteauneuf in a more accessible format. The estate famously grows all thirteen varieties permitted within the Châteauneuf appellation. Beyond the Beaucastel estate, the Perrin family have built up a comprehensive portfolio of wines across the Southern Rhône appellations including Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Vinsobres.
The emperor of southern Rhône appellations, Châteauneuf du Pape was the first A.O.C. in all of France, created in 1936. Their bottle is unique embossed with the papal coat of arms. Thirteen varieties (14 if Grenache Blanc is counted separately) can be incorporated in the blend. The reds include: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, Terret Noir, Picpoul, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscardin, while the whites are Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Clairette. Only a handful of producers use all 13, Grenache often being the highest percentage of the blend. This enables each producer to highlight the varieties that are the ripest and most interesting in any given year. Most Châteauneuf du Pâpes are master examples of wines that can be approachable within the first few years of release yet able to develop superb complexity during many years of cellaring.