Chateau de Beaucastel Hommage Jacques Perrin Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015
2015 was an exceptional vintage with near-perfect climate conditions, which indicates a historical vintage. After a hot and rather humid winter, the vines are in perfect condition by the time spring arrives. The spring is idyllic with sunny, hot and dry weather punctuated by beneficial rain. Flowering takes place in perfect conditions on perfectly healthy vines.
These exceptional climatic conditions continue into the summer with the hottest July in 50 years and a beautiful month of August offering particularly favorable thermal amplitudes. These unbelievable conditions continue until harvest that took place in ideal conditions with sunny days, cool nights and an episode of strong mistral to maintain healthy, beautiful and fully matured grapes. After this magical year, the wines predict to be grandiose and will mark the history of the Perrin Family.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A classic blend of mostly Mourvèdre, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin is a blockbuster that’s certainly the wine of the vintage. Possessing an inky purple color to go with an incredible bouquet of blueberries, garrigue, olive tapenade, beef blood and pepper, it's rich, full-bodied, powerful and layered, with sweet, ripe tannin. It's a more approachable example of this cuvée that past vintages, yet will keep for 3 decades or more.
As this was bottled only a week before I tasted it, I suspect this rating will prove to be conservative once a few months have passed. The 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage a Jacques Perrin is another prodigious version of this wine. How many wines in this world can be so huge yet so lacking the feeling of weight? There's plenty of layered spice but also a core of raspberries; rich tannins, yet no real astringency; and a long finish without any apparent heat. Wow!
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, Châteauneuf-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 Châteauneuf-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 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is white wine. 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.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.