The 2009 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape is reminiscent of their brilliant 1985. It will be one of the rare Beaucastels that is drinkable upon release. Made from this estate's classic blend, itpossesses soft tannins as well as a silky, open-knit seductiveness, a dense plum/purple color and a beautiful perfume of smoky Provencal herbs intermixed with grilled steak juices, garrigue, kirsch and blue as well as black fruits. The wine is full-bodied, unctuously textured, and silky smooth (the latter characteristic being somewhat atypical for a young Beaucastel). If it performs like the 1985, it will drink well young and continue to do so for 25 or more years. Drink 2011-2036
The 2009 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape (30% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise and the balance other permitted varietals) exhibits an opaque purple color as well as sweet aromas of camphor, truffles, black cherries, black currants, licorice, pepper and forest floor. The wine is full-bodied, rich, intense and powerful. Moreover, there is a lot more of the 2009 than there is of the 2008 (after the strict selection, only 50% of the normal production was achieved). Because of the significant tannins, the 2009 requires 3-5 years of bottle age and should evolve for 25-30 years.
This is not the bottled final blend but it's very close to it. 13 varieties including 30% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache and 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise, 5% Cinsault. Held back but there is so much waiting to escape. You can feel all those components coming together (I had just tasted the varieties Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Counoise and Cinsault as separate - non-commerical - bottlings). The brightness of the Grenache, that dry, firm framework and length from the Mourvèdre and the completeness of the blend. Dry, fresh, long and impressive in its embryonic state. Power and finesse. Great length. (JH) 14%
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.