Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2010
Rhone White Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
The white wines of Château 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.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2010 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape blanc is slightly more closed than its 2011 counterpart, as it has been in the bottle for nearly a year. Again 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache blanc vinified in tank, the wine displays the typical tropical fruit notes intermixed with rose petals, crushed rock, spring flowers and a rather exotic, somewhat tropical character, but tangerines dominate the fruit spectrum."
Wine & Spirits - "This is plush and seamless, a broad white brimming with apricot fruit fully backed with umami richness. There's acidity, but it's only perceptible in the juiciness of the fruit; otherwise it has the lofty firmness of a four-star-hotel bed. The salinity of its mineral tones and the toasty, nutty edge of roussanne gives the wine a complexity that brings to mind a great Alpine cheese. It would take a croque monsieur into a different stratosphere."
Wine Spectator - "Juicy up front, with lively star fruit, peach and yellow apple fruit, this turns plush and languid, with alluring grilled hazelnut, sweetened butter and warm piecrust notes filling in on the finish. Sneakily long, thanks to the nicely integrated acidity. Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Picardan, Clairette and Bourboulenc. Drink now through 2015."
International Wine Cellar - "Pale yellow. Fresh melon, pear and candied ginger aromas are deepened by a hint of honey. Tightly wound lemon curd and orchard fruit flavors open up with aeration, displaying deeper orchard fruit and melon character while maintaining vivacity. Leaves tangy mineral and lemon zest qualities behind on the long, focused finish."
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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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