Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2003
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
"One of the big names of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and this wine jusitfies the fame of the Perrin families property. It is a rich style, but more importantly, it is beautifully made, structured, dense..."
The vineyard is a patchwork of all 13 permitted grape varieties, 70 hectares in all. The soil is the same porous, aerated blanket of Alpine diluvium (rounded stones) on a base of Miocene marine limestone that exists elsewhere on the estate. The vines are on average 50 years old and yields are never more than 30 hectolitres per hectare and often much less. It is a vibrant and healthy vineyard due to years of organic cultivation and close monitoring of the needs of each vine.
The red wine of Beaucastel as with Coudoulet de Beaucastel is a structured, intense yet lean drink, thanks in part to the large percentage of Mourvedre - about 30% - in the final cuvée. Its austere tannic backbone and resistant to oxidation help Beaucastel age gracefully.
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Deep, dense red color. Vibrant aromas of aromas of cherry, wild herbs, fresh flowers and minerals. Energetic and sweet, showing no overripe qualities; offers a silky, suave texture and wonderfully pure red berry, fresh plum, kirsch and fig flavors. Those with an aversion to the funky, gamey character that can characterize Beaucastel in "typical" vintages owe it to themselves to check this out. Clearly, the Perrins know what to do with grenache, even if it's not their favorite grape."
The Wine Advocate - "One of the weaker vintages for this estate yet still outstanding, the 2003 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape delivers a surprisingly fresh profile, yet ten years after the vintage, it is entering the early stages of maturity. Loaded with red and black currants, iron, beef blood, rolled stone and garrigue on the nose, with no roasted fruit or over ripeness, it shines on the palate with excellent depth and richness. Medium to full-bodied, supple and integrated, with plenty of ripe fruit, it should continue to evolve for a handful of years. Consume it over the coming decade, max."
Chateau de Beaucastel Winery
In 1549, "Noble Pierre de Beaucastel" bought "a barn with its land holdings, containing 25 saumées at Coudoulet". More than four centuries later, this remarkable domaine, known today as Château de Beaucastel, is producing what most people acknowledge to be the finest wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
In 1903, a young chemical engineer and mathematics professor named Pierre Perrin, together with his father-in-law, began to restore the domaine following the ravages of phylloxera. His son, Jacques Perrin, took over the domaine in 1953 and introduced many innovations such as improved grape varietals, integrated pest control, and a flash-heat exchanger.
Today, the third and fourth generations of Perrins, François and Jean-Pierre and Jean-Pierre's sons Pierre, Marc and Thomas, continue in the tradition of their father and grandfather. The vineyards of Beaucastel are treated as a garden: no chemical fertilizer, no chemical week killers or sprays are permitted. Organic fertilizer comes from compost and only a minimum of traditional sulphur-copper spray is used in the vineyards.
The vineyards are planted in all the traditional grapes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Clairette, Picpoul, Picardin, Bourboulenc, Roussanne. View all Chateau de Beaucastel Wines
About Chateauneuf-du-PapeView a map of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wineries (shah-too-NUHF due Pahp)Southern Rhone's landmark region, Chateauneuf du Pape, was the first region to gain AC status in France. That was the 1920s – it's history goes much further back than that. As the name suggests, the wine region was named after the "new papal home," referring to the period of time in the 1300's when the pope resided in Avignon instead of Rome.
Photo of galets covering the soil at Chateau de Beaucastel
Notable FactsThere are 13 allowed varieties in Chateauneuf du Pape (14 if you count Grenache Blanc separately from Grenache Noir). Grenache is the primary variety, followed by Syrah and Mourvedre as well as Cinsault. About 97% of the wines here are red, although many chateaux are producing whites ranging from quaffable to decadent and ageworthy. Reds from the best estates emit wonderful flavors of gamey spice, blackberries and currant, as well as the herbs and spices that are known to grow in the region.
Note on the soil: The grapes grow on soils covered in rounded, smooth stones called galets (gah-lay). The stones naturally cover most of the soils throughout Chateauneuf du Pape and are two fold in their duties. First, they are able to reflect and absorb the heat, to quicken the ripening of the grapes. They also help to hold in moisture so that the soils are not dried out by the hot Southern French sun.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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