Liv-Ex reports that the 2016 Chateau Beucastel has been released at £480 per 12×75. Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth has described Rhone 2016 as a “stellar vintage”: “The younger vintage, 2016, has even more buzz. Producers are likening it to the classic 2010, with its powerful fruit but greater emphasis on structure and spine. ”
2015 Chateau Beaucastel (97-99 Points) • Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin/Jeb Dunnuck The Wine Advocate: There’s just a single foudre of the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin, and this behemoth was clearly one of the most impressive barrel samples I tasted from the vintage. Inky colored, rich, thick and unctuous, with tons of blackberry and blueberry fruits, cured meats, pepper and garrigue, it’s a tour de force and I’m always amazed at the level of purity, concentration and depth the Perrin family is able to achieve with this wine. I know most people squirrel this cuvée away, but it offers incredible pleasure in its youth, as well (the 2009 and 2007 are insanely good today). Still, a decade of cellaring would be ideal
This reference point estate continues to achieve incredible quality in just about every vintage. They’ve certainly made the wine of the vintage in 2014 with their Hommage a Jacques Perrin release, and it defies the vintage characteristics. As to their 2015s, Marc Perrin commented during my visit that he’d never seen a vintage where ever variety excelled like in 2015. I was able to taste through all of the single varieties that will go into their Châteauneuf du Pape cuvées, and he’ll get no argument from me on that assertion. I’ve also opted to include their Famille Perrin Gigondas and Vinsobres releases in this report as well. The top cuvées from Gigondas (no Vieilles Vignes was presented this go around) are truly great wines; the Vinsobres Les Hauts de Julien is easily one of the top wines from the appellation and would pass undetected in a blind lineup of great northern Rhône Syrahs
The ground at Beaucastel is marked by the violence wrought by the Rhone river. It consists of a layer of marine molasses (sandstone) of the Miocene period, covered by alpine alluvium. The presence in this topsoil of a great number of rounded stones, known as “galets”, bears evidence of the time when the Rhone, then a torrent, tore fragments of rock from the Alps and deposited them along its course.
This is the story of the typical soil of Beaucastel. These “galets” make a significant contribution to the quality of the wines: they retain the heat of the day and radiate it to the vines during the night
The meso-climate here plays an important role: low rainfall, the Mistral wind that clears the air and keeps it dry, and strong and continuous sun
All these components – notably the spectacular differences between high and low temperatures – combine and complement each other to give the vineyard of Beaucastel its particular qualities and originality (the characteristics of a “grand cru”).
The nature of the soil at Beaucastel is stony, well aerated and free-draining. The vine puts down strong roots here. Amongst the effects of this soil:
– the upper surface warms up very quickly in spring
– water drains off fast
– the vines suffer during summer drought
The estate covers a total of 130 hectares, of which only 100 hectares are planted to vines:
– 3/4 is Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CHATEAU DE BEAUCASTEL)
– 1/4 is Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Côtes-du-Rhône (COUDOULET DE BEAUCASTEL)
-The remaining 30 hectares are farmed with rotating crops to prepare new vineyard plantings: every year one or two hectares of old vines are grubbed up and the equivalent area is replanted on land which has not had vines growing on it for at least ten years
A Miocene era soil covered with an Alpine deposit (rolled river stones), brought in during the last Ice Age by water and glaciers; in fact the former riverbed of the Rhône.
The soil around Château de Beaucastel is quite homogenous. One important variable is the height of the water-table: some grape varieties need more water than others
Within Châteauneuf-du-Pape one finds three types of soil :
– One with stones on the surface
– An equally stony soil, but partially covered with sand
– Closer to the river Rhône, soils with a higher proportion of chalk
At Beaucastel they still use all thirteen varieties of grapes authorised in the Chateauneuf du Pape Appellation: MOURVEDRE, GRENACHE, SYRAH, CINSAULT, VACARESE, COUNOISE, TERRET NOIR, MUSCARDIN, CLAIRETTE, PICPOUL, PICARDAN, BOURBOULENC, ROUSSANNE
What Is Chateuaneuf Du Pape?
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. The village lies about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) to the east of the Rhône and 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north of the town of Avignon. In the 2012 census the commune had a population of 2,179.
A ruined medieval castle sits above the village and dominates the landscape to the south. It was built in the 14th century for Pope John XXII, the second of the popes to reside in Avignon. None of the subsequent Avignon popes stayed in Châteauneuf but after the schism of 1378 the antipope Clement VII sought the security of the castle. With the departure of the popes the castle passed to the archbishop of Avignon, but it was too large and too expensive to maintain and was used as a source of stone for building work in the village. At the time of the Revolution the buildings were sold off and only the donjon was preserved. During the Second World War an attempt was made to demolish the donjon with dynamite by German soldiers but only the northern half was destroyed; the southern half remained intact
The first vines in Chateauneuf du Pape were planted by the ancient Romans. Historic ancient Roman ruins are easy to find in the Southern Rhone Valley. In fact, one of the best preserved, ancient amphitheaters built by the Romans in all of Europe is in Orange, not far from Chateauneuf. Chateauneuf du Pape takes its name from the time when the Pope moved to Avignon in 1309. The move was due to issues between the King of France and the Papacy. 8 different Popes served in Avignon as the Papacy remained in Chateauneuf du Pape until 1378. The first Pope to move to Avignon was Pope Clement V, who was an avid wine lover. Pope Clement V also spent time in Bordeaux at what is now called Chateau Pape Clement in Pessac Leognan. The Pope moving to Avignon is of course where the region takes its name, as Chateauneuf du Pape is translated to mean; “The Pope’s New Castle.” The actual village was called Chateauneuf Calcernier, as well as Castronovo Calcernarium by about 1200. Calcernier and Calcernarium refer to the local limestone quarries in the area. It took almost 6 centuries however, before the region was officially named Chateauneuf du Pape, which took place in 1893
In 1919, the official boundaries of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation were drawn up. In 1924, Chateauneuf du Pape applied for official appellation status. By 1932, the first major land holder in the appellation was starting to control a lot of land
Baron Puerre Le Roy owned several famous names including; Fortia, Rayas, La Nerthe, Vaudieu and others. The Baron Le Roy was also involved with creating the rules for the about to be created, and soon to be famous appellation of Chateauneuf du Pape.
15 different grape varieties are allowed to be planted in the appellation. The vine density must not be less than 2,500 vines per hectare and cannot exceed 3,000 vines per hectare. Vines must be at least 4 years of age to be included in the wine. Machine harvesting is not allowed in Chateauneuf du Pape. All growers must harvest 100% of their fruit by hand. Vines are allowed to be irrigated no more than twice a year. However, irrigation is only allowed when a vintages is clearly suffering due to a severe drought. If a property wishes to irrigate due to drought, they must apply for permission from the INAO. Any watering must take place before August 15.
Chateauneuf du Pape wine must be at least 12.5% alcohol and chaptalization was not allowed. These were the minimum requirements for producers seeking to have their wines sold as Chateauneuf du Pape.
The appellation of Chateauneuf du Pape is 3,231 hectares in size. The entire area is about 8.5 miles long and 5 miles wide. Its boundaries are set by the city of Orange with its Roman ruins in the north, the town of Sorgues to the south, The Rhone River to the west and the main road, the A7 to the east. In an average vintage, 13,750,000 bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape are produced every year
In 2014, close to 320 different growers were active in the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation. About 250 produce, bottle and sell their own wine. The remaining growers sell their harvest to negociants or cooperatives. Brotte is the largest of the negociant/cooperatives active in Chateauneuf selling close to 45,000 cases of wine per year. Guigal is the second largest domaine selling close to 35,000 cases of wine per vintage
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