Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2011
Rhone White Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
The white wines of Chateau de Beaucastel are amongst the finest expressions of Roussanne grapes grown in a warm climate. The two cuvees have a lot in common but show different personalities: the standard bottling, made from 80%Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, whose vines are between 10 and 40 years old, and a small quantity of the "Vieilles Vignes" cuvee, produced entirely from Roussanne vines of at least 65 years of age.
Wine & Spirits - "Extravagant is the word for this wine, from its sweet floral scents to its saturated texture. A blend of 80 percent roussanne and twenty percent grenache blanc fermented in tank, it’s like an eternal well of flavor, juicy, floral, herbal and spicy. The acidity rides through the flavors like and electric current, invisibly energizing the wine, and promising to hold it strong while it mellows in the cellar. It is delicious now for a celebratory meal, but should be even more compelling in another six to twelve years, when the minerality has had more time to assert its presence."
Wine Spectator - "A lush, tropical style, with a lovely core of papaya and creamed peach backed by acacia honey and lightly toasted macadamia nut notes. The long, creamy finish has a beautiful mouthfeel, while the papaya note echoes on."
The Wine Advocate - "The big white wines, of course, are the two cuvees of Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape blanc. The 2011, which is 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache blanc vinified in tank, is showing tremendous notes of honeyed grapefruit, white peach, apricot, marmalade, crushed rock and spring flowers. Now these wines are made from earlier harvested grapes and no malolactic, so they should age slightly better and more evenly than they have in the past. As I have said before, the Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes, from 100% old vine Roussanne, is the Montrachet of southern France. The 2011 is sensational, a wine of great complexity, intensity and full-bodied power. Lots of rose petal, marmalade, honeysuckle, candle wax, tangerine and orange rind notes make up this fabulously rich, intense wine that just blows me away every time I taste it in its youth."
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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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