Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2008
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The first evidence of Château de Beaucastel as it exists today is in the sixteenth century. In 1909, Pierre Traminer bought the estate and then transferred it to his son-in-law Pierre Perrin, a scientist who further developed Beaucastel. His son, Jacques, continued his father’s efforts until 1978 and today, the torch is carried by Jacques’ sons, Jean-Pierre and François. They are joined by the fifth generation of Perrins—Marc, Pierre, Thomas, Cécile, Charles, Matthieu, and César.
The vineyards of Château de Beaucastel are located on historic land where each of the 13 approved grapes varietals of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation are planted. The art of blending these 13 grapes has been passed down from one generation to the next. Beaucastel is, first of all, a family story, the story of Famille Perrin. Their main strength is being able to blend the talents of each family member to run the wine estate under common values: absolute respect for land and terroir; biodynamic culture as a philosophy of life; and the research of truth, balance, and elegance.
Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called "galets" in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.
According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsault, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.
Only about 6-7% of wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape is white. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.
The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.
Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions. Typically some combination of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier form the basis of a white Rhône blend with varying degrees of flexibility depending on the exact appellation. Somm Secret—In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common but the south retains more variety. Marsanne, Roussanne as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc are typical.