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Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007
The thirteen grape varieties of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation with a strong percentage of Mourvèdre and Grenache (30% each), Syrah 10%, Counoise 10% Cinsault 5% and the rest divided up amongst the remaining grape varieties: Vaccarèse, Terret noir, Muscardin, Picpoul, Picardan, Bourboulenc, Roussanne.
The Grenache and the Cinsault give the wine its color, intensity and softness. The Mourvèdre, Syrah, Muscardin and Vaccarèse give the wine its renowned ageing potential and dark, classic character. The Counoise, Picpoul and other varieties provide freshness, fragrance and aromatic quality.
Layers of melted fig, mulled boysenberry and black currant fruit are laced with notes of charred mesquite, hoisin sauce and coffee. The long, silky mouthfeel belies the latent power in reserve. Best from 2010 through 2030.
Beaucastel’s 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape has turned out even better out of bottle than I predicted. An inky/ruby/purple color is followed by a glorious nose of blue and black fruits, truffles, pen ink, licorice, and meat juices as well as glorious levels of acidity and sweet tannin, buttressing the fruit’s fabulous freshness and vibrancy. This full-bodied effort still displays considerable tannin, no doubt because of the relatively high Mourvedre content. It should resolve its tannins in 2-4 years, and last for 25 or more.
Deep ruby. Powerful, pungent aromas evoke kirsch, blackberry, smoky herbs and dried flowers. Energetic, penetrating cherry and dark berry flavors are enlivened by juicy acidity and given spine by a tangy mineral quality. A floral quality sneaks in with air, along with notes of allspice and star anise. The finish is sappy, focused and very long, with herbs and flowers lingering.
At first glance, this is not particularly impressive; it's slightly herbal and rustic, with a raisiny edge to the fruit. But this really improves with air, fleshing out on the midpalate and losing the raisiny notes in favor of plum and savory notes. Give it four or five years in the cellar and drink it over the next 15 or so.
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.
A legendary wine region setting the benchmark for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay worldwide...
A legendary wine region setting the benchmark for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay worldwide, Burgundy is a perennial favorite of many wine lovers. After centuries of winemaking, the Burgundians have determined precisely which grape clone grows best on which plot of land, determined by the soil type, the elevation, and the angle in relation to the sun—this is a region firmly rooted in tradition and the concept of ‘terroir’ reigns supreme here. Because of the Napoleonic Code requiring equal distribution of property and land among all heirs, vineyard ownership in Burgundy is extremely fragmented, with some growers responsible for just one row or even one vine. This system has led to the predominance of the "negociant"—a merchant who purchases fruit from many different growers to vinify and bottle together.
Burgundy’s cool, marginal climate and Jurassic limestone soils are perfect for the production of elegant, savory, and mineral-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with plenty of acidity. Vintage variation is of particular importance here, as weather conditions can be variable and unpredictable. Spring frost and hail are near-universal risks. The Côte d’Or, a long and narrow escarpment, forms the heart of the region, split into the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune to the south. The former is home to many of the world’s finest Pinot Noir wines, while Chardonnay plays a much more prominent role in the latter, though outstanding red, white, and rosé are all produced throughout. Other key appellations include the Côte Chalonnaise, home to great value Pinot Noir and sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne; the Mâconnais, producing soft and round inexpensive Chardonnay; and Chablis, the northernmost region of Burgundy and an acidity-lover’s Chardonnay paradise.
Delightfully playful yet at its best capable of impressive gravitas...
Delightfully playful yet at its best capable of impressive gravitas, Gamay is responsible for juicy, berry-flavored wines in Beaujolais and parts of the Loire Valley. It has received some criticism for its role in Beaujolais Nouveau, a young beverage more reminiscent of fruit punch than wine. But make no mistake—the Gamay grape is very capable of producing light yet serious wines, especially in the cru villages of Beaujolais. The variety is also widely planted in Savoie and Switzerland, and has recently found success on a small but growing scale in Oregon.
In the Glass
Though delicious on its own, Gamay is the quintessential picnic red and goes well with simple charcuterie, country pate, and terrines. With a light chill, it is an outstanding partner for oysters. Gentle tannins and bright acidity make it a great option with spicy Asian food. It can also be a great pairing with poultry, especially duck or Thanksgiving turkey with cranberry sauce.
Gamay is delicious on its own, especially with a light chill. It is the quintessential picnic red and goes well with simple charcuterie, country pate, and terrines. Served at a cool temperature, it is an unexpected but outstanding partner for freshly shucked oysters. Gentle tannins and bright acidity make it a great option with Asian food, even dishes with a bit of a spicy kick. Gamay can also be a great pairing with poultry, especially duck or Thanksgiving turkey with cranberry sauce.
Within Beaujolais, there are ten different crus, or highly ranked grape-growing communes. Each one has its own distinct personality—Fleurie is delicate and floral, Côte de Brouilly is concentrated and elegant, and Morgon is serious, structured, and age-worthy, capable of rivaling some red Burgundies.