One of the storied properties in the southern Rhone, Chateau de Beaucastel produces some of the finest Chateauneuf du Pape in the world. One of the world’s great historical sites for wine, Chateauneuf du Pape was first mentioned in 11th century historical records. The town of Avignon in this region was the previous site of the papacy, following a Roman invasion. Bertrand de Got, archbishop of Bordeaux, was elected pope in 1305, and took the name of Clement V as he transferred the papacy from Rome to Avignon in 1309. The register of pontifical letters reveals that Clement V visited Châteauneuf on several occasions, sometimes for long periods of time.
Wine would have existed in this region before the arrival of the papacy but there are no historical records of wine growing prior to this time. We do know that most of the wine grown in this region prior to the 18th century was drunk within a year. In 1923, the local wine producers led by the lawyer Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié started a campaign to establish legal protection for the wine from the commune. The wine classified as Châteauneuf-du-Pape Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) is produced from grapes grown in the commune of Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as in portions of the four nearby communes in the Vaucluse department. The vineyards cover an area of approximately 3,200 hectares.
Chateau de Beaucastel has a longstanding history in Chateauneuf du Pape. The winery is named after the Beaucastel family which lived in this region in the 16th century. Records show a Pierre de Beaucastel buying a barn and some associated land at Coudoulet in 1549, and this land is still part of Château de Beaucastel's holdings. In the 19th century, when the Phylloxera epidemic struck the region, the owner decided not to replant the vineyards but rather to sell the property. In 1909, it was bought by Pierre Tramier, and the vineyards were rebuilt under his ownership. After him, his son-in-law Pierre Perrin took over management and expanded Château de Beaucastel's vineyard holdings considerably. The property has stayed in the Perrin family since.
In the past I have had the great fortune to sample some very old bottlings of this estate, back to 1990. These wines are extremely complex, acid driven and age-worthy. Chateau de Beaucastel is one of the few wineries that uses 13 different Rhone varietals in its Châteauneuf du Pape, and typically uses a high proportion of Mourvèdre. I was very impressed with the vertical tasting, as these wines show as well as any other estate in Chateauneuf du Pape.
The new release was downright stunning, coming from the highly anticipated 2015 vintage. The 2015 Chateau de Beaucastel (WWB, 96), showed amazing intensity and power. This is truly one for the cellar. There was not only richness but a lovely purity of fruit to this wine. Neck and neck with the 2015 was the 2014 Chateau de Beaucastel (WWB, 96) which was an incredible showing from this wine. While not as rich as the ’15, the ’14 possessed incredible layers and wonderful poise, as well as a striking minerality. Not to be outdone was the new release 2015 Chateau de Beaucastel ‘Vigne Vignes’ Roussanne (WWB, 96) which was one of the best white CDPs that I have sampled in a very long time. This unctuous, remarkable Roussanne shows incredible layers and richness while maintaining great tension. This really needs at least another year in the cellar to fully develop. Learn more about Chateau de Beaucastel at http://www.beaucastel.com/en/ Here are the stunning new releases wines and last two vintages of Chateau de Beaucastel.
2015 Chateau de Beaucastel ‘Vieilles Vignes’ Roussanne- This golden hued wine by Chateau de Beaucastel has an incredible nose with beeswax, honeydew melon, nutmeg and brioche. With more air the wine becomes more earthy, imparting wild mushroom and unripe lemon notes. The mid-palate is silky and is incredibly seamless which becomes even more evident on the second day of tasting. The texture is downright ethereal. Buttered popcorn, poached pear, green papaya, and white peach flavors combine. The mouthfeel is downright unctuous as the range at play makes you savor every sip. Be sure to give this at least two to three hours of time in the decanter to breathe. Drink 2018-2033- 96
2015 Chateau de Beaucastel ‘Coudoulet de Beaucastel’ Cotes du Rhone- This is an absolutely fantastic showing as a second wine. This wine starts off with aromas of raspberry liquor, sandalwood and herbs de Provence. Balanced and poised, showing some nice weight on the mid-palate, the wine dances between dark and red fruits with a lovely texture. Enjoy this outstanding CDR over the next decade. Drink 2017-2025- 91
2015 Chateau de Beacastel Chateauneuf du Pape- This knockout wine utilizes all 13 varietals that are allowed in Chateauneuf du Pape. It has a stunning nose of green peppercorn, blackberry jam, herbs de provence, with bacon fat. The wet stone element comes on after roughly an hour decant. Firm and focused, the wine delivers delicious blackberry cordial, black olive tapenade, Umami and crushed wet stone flavors. The combination of weight and tension here makes this wine simply irresistible. Drink 2017-2033- 96
2014 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape- This nose takes on a dominant red fruit aromatic profile that is beautifully connected with rose water accents. Less stony on the bouquet than the 2015 Beaucastel, the 2014 rendition also yields orange rind and smoked brisket aromas that make this nearly impossible to put down. The palate is both lithe and dense as the wine currently showcases Hoisin sauce, Umami, blood orange puree, red cherry syrup and black tea flavors. This is an absolute show-stopper at this juncture, showing a slightly more feminine profile than the 2015 — but this is every bit as good. Drink 2017-2030- 96
2013 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape- The 2013 Chateau de Beaucastel is drinking marvelously at this juncture. Aromatically bright, this wine reveals provencale herbs, cigar ash, coffee ground and crushed mint aromas that connect with red fruits. Highly structured, with marvelous tension, the wine plays off red currant, pomegranate seed, white truffle and wild blackberry flavors. This is a solid effort in a highly challenging vintage. Drink 2017-2027- 93