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October 26, 2010

While I can’t call Beaucastel my favorite CdP producer (I visited that one on Day 3), it’s certainly in my top 5, and I don’t see how anyone could visit the region without making a stop at the famed domaine.

I don’t have any introductory tidbits here, as I was too busy snapping photos of the grounds, galets, vineyards, barrel room, and whatnot to take many notes down. We toured the winery for about 45 minutes before settling-in to some after-tour pours. The two ‘08 reds were both disappointments, but the two blancs were excellent -- I kept flip-flopping on which I preferred between the whites. In going back over my notes now, I do wonder if the CdP blanc we tasted was the ‘08, rather than the ‘09. I have an email out to Beaucastel on this matter, and will amend my notes if it was, indeed, the ‘08.

2008 Château de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône (10/26/2010)
– tasted a single glass non-blind over approx. 15 minutes –
– 30% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault –

NOSE: spicy; a bit woody; seemed diffuse.
TASTE: medium bodied with drying tannins; red berry flavors lack concentration. I wasn’t impressed. Gut: low 80's.


2008 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (10/26/2010)
– tasted a single glass non-blind over approx. 15 minutes –
– 30% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise, 4% Cinsault; 16% other 8 permitted varieties –

NOSE: spicy red fruits; hint of white pepper; tight.
TASTE: medium-full bodied; spicy/earthy raspberry; loganberry; cigar wrapper; good acid; loose structure; somewhat coarse and drying tannins; clipped finish. As the following two days of tasting unfurled, I began to realize that wines like this Beau are pretty typical for the 2008 vintage. Gut: 89 - 91.


1998 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (10/26/2010)
– tasted a single glass non-blind over approx. 45 minutes –

NOSE: intoxicatingly gorgeous Nose: wild berry; hints of crushed grape skin; truffle; grandma’s mixed nut bowl; walnut; licorice.
TASTE: beautiful example of a CdP that’s just exiting its infancy; tannins have smoothed-out, but still have plenty of integrated grip; open and flashy: red berries; wild juicy fruits; spice; a bit loose, but quite delicious; tastes less advanced than it smells; needs more time if you prefer your CdP’s to taste aged.

2009 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (10/26/2010)
– tasted a single glass non-blind over approx. 15 minutes –
– 80% Roussanne, 15% Grenache Blanc, 5% others –
– bottled opened the previous day –

NOSE: loads of fresh fruit and spicy coconut on this expressive and perfumy Nose; some oak is apparent, as well.
TASTE: medium-full bodied; the Grenache Blanc seems to really stand-out, despite it’s minority share in the cepage: the crisp pear flavor does not speak of Roussanne to me, although the ample minerality certainly does; a bit warm in the belly, but I’d still call this outstanding. Gut: 92 - 94.


2008 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (10/26/2010)
– tasted a single glass non-blind over approx. 15 minutes –
– 100% old-vine Roussanne –

NOSE: crazy expressive Nose of musk, oily lanolin, and pineapple.
TASTE: full bodied and buttery; honeysuckle; good minerality without being a mineral-bomb; ridiculously long finish. Showy. Serious. Gut: 92 - 94.

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