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.
"One of the great successes of the vintage and certainly better than their 2003 is Beaucastel's 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape. Deep ruby/purple in color with loads of licorice, smoked game, black cherry and blackberry fruit, along with incense and truffle, the wine has fabulous richness, high tannin, medium to full body, and beautiful length, richness, and purity. This is a beauty and one of the vintage's finest wines. Give it 4-6 years of bottle age and drink it over the next 25+ years. It has the potential to be one of the longest-lived Chateauneuf du Papes of the vintage." Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
"Ruby-red. Powerful red and dark berry aromas verge on liqueur-like but are enlivened by zesty mineral and anise accents. Lush, supple and sweet, with deep raspberry and cherry flavors, fine-grained tannins and complicating herb and smoked meat tones. Very smooth on the finish, which is sappy, deep in cherry flavor and impressively long." -International Wine Cellar
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
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,
View all Chateau de Beaucastel Wines
Photo of galets covering the soil at Chateau de Beaucastel
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.
There 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 regions
When 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.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.