Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre et al
75cl * Organic * 14.5% ABV * Rhone, France
When one hears 'Chateauneuf-du-Pape', one thinks of full-bodied, earthy wines with spice and weight - and yet so often we're disappointed. Not so with Chateau de Beaucastel, a family-run estate dating back to the sixteenth century at the very northern edge of the Chateauneuf appellation. Why is that important? Well, it's the part of the region most exposed to the Mistral winds, which they liken to 'nature's hairdryer', effortlessly drying the fruit after summer showers, avoiding unhealthy mildew and rot, and blowing off bugs and grubs. The Perrin family, who have owned the chateau for coming onto five generations now, are passionate about their winemaking, so much so that each of the 13 grape varieties that make up CNDP are vinified separately, before being blended together according to the family's closely guarded secret recipe. What we can tell you, though, is that the Grenache and Cinsault provide colour, warmth, roundness while the Mourvedre, Syrah, Muscardin and Vaccarese give the wine its structure and aging ability. Counoise and Picpoul provide that final oomph to the body and palate. Once blended, the wine spends a year in oak barrel and then a further year in bottle before leaving the winery.
So what does this give us? 2017 was the driest year in 30 years, and gave a very small yield yet one with rich potential. Cherries, blackcurrants, spices, floral and aromatic herby notes dominate the nose, while on the palate it's there's a seductive velvety texture enhanced with finely spicy fruit. The tannins are ripe and fine and there's a beautifully dense structure. The finish is long, harmonious and very persistent with fruit, spice, and those floral notes coming back to say hello. All in all, a superb vintage of this exceptionally good wine.
Drinking Window: 2021 - 2040
'A seriously structured Beaucastel for the long term.' Decanter - 95/100
'Dark bright-rimmed ruby. Ripe black and blue fruit liqueur, incense, smoked meat and candied lavender qualities on the deeply perfumed, spice-accented nose. Broad and fleshy in the mouth, offering intense black raspberry, bitter cherry and fruitcake flavors that tighten up and turn livelier with air. Shows plenty of energy for a hot-vintage wine and finishes impressively long and chewy, with mounting tannins and repeating smoke and floral notes.' Vinous - 93-94/100