A famed house the southern Rhone region of France, Chateau de Beaucastel produces some of the finest Chateauneuf du Pape in the world. Everyone who has tried this wine can think back to their first bottle of Chateau de Beaucastel. I recall my first one while I was in college, enjoying the absolutely epic 1998 Chateau de Beaucastel. I remember the stunning combination of weight and tension in the bottle — one that literally begs you to enjoy more. The region of Chateauneuf du Pape has an incredible history and was 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.
It is quite clear that wine had some influence in this region before the arrival of the papacy but there are no actual historical records of wine or vineyards 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, which was true to the cultural times. It wasn’t until 1923 when local wine producers led the way to have their wines classified as Châteauneuf-du-Pape Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) was formed.
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. They also produce a highly sought after white wine which is largely a blend of 80% Roussanne (80%) as well as 5% Grenache Blanc with the remaining 5% coming from an assemblage of Clairette, Bourboulenc and Picardan.
I was absolutely blown away with their new release Blanc, the 2016 Chateau de Beaucastel Blanc (WWB, 96) which has a hedonistic texture and is incredibly layered. This is one for the cellar. I have had a chance to revisit some of the more recent releases of Chateau de Beaucastel and have been absolutely delighted to see how they are showing. The 2014 Chateau de Beaucastel (WWB, 96), is a wine of incredible terroir, power and finesse. Quite simply, this is Beaucastel at its best with its incredible range of green peppercorns, Provencale herbs and dark fruits. This massive wine will evolve gracefully for decades. Learn more about Chateau de Beaucastel at http://www.beaucastel.com/en/ Here are the beautiful new releases wines and older vintages of Chateau de Beaucastel.
2016 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc- The 2016 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc is a stunning new wine from this famed estate in Chateauneuf du Pape. Needing more than an hour decant to fully develop, this pear colored wine starts off with beeswax, brandy soaked pear, nutmeg, and ripe banana that impress on the nose. The intoxicating bouquet brings you back to the glass for more delight. Once in the mouth, the unctuous mouthfeel entices the senses. Silky smooth gliding through the palate, flavors reminiscent of baked pear, marzipan, banana bread and honeydew melon move through, leading to an exceeding long and satisfying finish. The salinity and light stony character of the wine further pushes this into the upper echelon of this prestigious region in the Rhone Valley. Enjoyable now, this wine will cellar well for decades. Drink 2019-2038- 96
2015 Chateau de Beacastel Chateauneuf du Pape- The 2015 Chateau de Beaucastel is a stunning wine which has utilized all 13 varietals that are allowed in Chateauneuf du Pape. The wine needs roughy a one hour decant to fully show its potential. The Beaucastel shows off a stunning nose of coffee grounds, green peppercorn, blackberry jam, herbs de provence, with bacon fat with underlying suggestions of wet stone. Firm and focused, the wine delivers delicious blackberry cordial, black olive tapenade, Umami and crushed wet stone flavors. The combination of richness and freshness here makes this wine simply irresistible. While this is marvelous now, the wine has many decades ahead of it. Drink 2019-2040- 96
2014 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape- The 2014 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape has evolved considerably since its release roughly two years ago and is utterly delicious at this point in its evolution. The wine shows best following a one hour decant. Once aroused this beautiful wine opens with a bright bouquet of Provencale herbs, green peppercorns, cigar box and copious dark fruits that all marvelously mingle together in the glass. Deep and seductive, the wine has a gloriously rich texture and a silky smooth mouthfeel as it gracefully glides across the mid-palate. The wine unveils intense flavors of green olive tapenade, red currant, bacon fat, blackberry cobbler and green peppercorn with herbal and peat moss undertones that build on the palate. The combination of weight and minerality is stunning here. Highly pleasurable now, the wine will have an exceedingly long life in the cellar. Drink 2019-2040- 96