Moving to the two Châteauneuf-du-Pape releases and 35% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, 8% Syrah, 12% Counoise, the rest other permitted varieties (Marc calls this a Mourvèdre vintage), the 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape sports an inky purple color as well as a textbook Mourvèdre nose of black, black fruits, smoked meats, crushed rocks, charcoal, and pepper. It's deep and full-bodied, with beautiful purity and building structure. Production is down 40%, but this brilliant wine is certainly in the same league as the 2016. One of the old guards of the region, Château de Beaucastel is nevertheless one of the most progressive and forward-thinking estates out there. They have a wealth of old vine Mourvèdre planted in the northern part of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and have purchased heavily in the cooler appellation of Gigondas. They’ve broken the lineup into their Château de Beaucastel releases for the estate wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and several additional cuvées released under their Famille Perrin label. Looking at the 2016s, these wines remind me of how the 2001s tasted on release. They are some of the finest wines in the vintage as well as ever made at the estate. These are classic, concentrated, yet perfectly balanced wines that will benefit from bottle age. In contrast, the 2017s are also brilliant but more forward and charming, and I suspect the preponderance of clay soils at this estate helped dramatically with keeping the vines ripening grapes as opposed to shutting down during this
A tremendous effort, might Beaucastel's 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape outshine even the 2016? I tasted a preliminary blend that Marc Perrin said represented 80% of the wine, and it showed ridiculous floral and fresh aromas of licorice, lavender and spice, all backed by tremendous fruit that went beyond black and red and into hints of exotic stone fruit. The final blend will likely contain more than 10% Counoise, the highest proportion ever utilized at the estate. It's rich and concentrated yet silky and lithe, with a fantastically long, elegant finish. (JC)
At Beaucastel the Grenache and Cinsault are fermented in cement while the Syrah and Mourvèdre are fermented in foudre. The result features finely pixellated fruits of the forest on the nose, with a full-bodied but mightily fresh and lively palate. The Mourvèdre element is strong this year, bringing vibrancy and power. It's firmly savoury, very dry and dramatic. A very tannic year has produced a seriously structured Beaucastel for the long term. Drinking Window 2022 - 2030. (MW)
Cask sample. Rich, succulent black fruit with wonderful clarity and effortless depth. A real masterclass of the appellation, with meaty complexity on the palate as well as persistent fragrant spices. Spot-on balance to finish, even though the tannins are still very brash and furry. Certainly needs age, and should be a really wonderful investment. 18/20 points. (RH)
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