Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre Blend * 75cl * 13.5% ABV * Côtes du Rhône, France
From a vineyard immediately bordering the area of Châteauneuf-du-Pape's appellation, between the communes of Orange and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (all that separates this field and Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a main road.) Significantly it has the same Galet stones (large round potato-sized pebbles) that give Châteauneuf its unique character as they absorb sunlight during the day and release heat at night bringing on the ripening of the grapes.
Beauchene isn't completely organic but practises "agriculture raisonnee", a philosophy of production that guarantees a top quality product whilst at the same time ensuring a better respect of the environment, through the use of traditional techniques; horse ploughing, hand harvesting and hand sorting by each grape-picker.
Deep ruby in colour with aromas of ripe red fruits and bilberries which continue as red fruit flavours on the palate that develop to hints of raspberries and blackcurrant. Dense, rich and a little smoky, this is a 'mini' Chateauneuf - at a fraction of the cost.
Our resident MW, Rob MacCulloch also had this to say:
'I think this is one of the most immediately attractive vintages of Premier Terroir I've had. There's a lovely fresh, light, raspberry fruited nose, with a classic ground white pepper and raspberry fruit flavour that comes from Grenache-based wine, with some savoury, blacker character creeping in from the high percentage of Syrah used. I like that the moderate alcohol (for the region) of 13.5% seems to help the freshness, and produces an elegant, mid-weight palate profile, with a very attractive, developing and complex length of pepper, spice, nuts and red fruits. Tannins are balanced and characteristically dry, with Grenache's finishing grip. It's delicious now too - I wouldn't wait to drink this, although I think it would remain very attractive in about two year's time as well.'