Another in a string of top vintages, Beaucastel's 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape was produced from Grenache yields of only eight hectoliters per hectare ("normal" is about 28 hectoliters per hectare, according to Marc Perrin). The final blend I was shown is almost candied in its fruity intensity of raspberries and cherries, yet it has a potent underpinning of more savory elements, like tapenade, grilled meat and dried spices. Full-bodied, with fine, silky tannins, this shows tremendous length, reverberating with hints of crushed stone on the finish.(JC)
This is a towering, muscular Beaucastel this year with more depth, intensity and black fruit, pushing towards blackcurrant. It’s very dense and extremely concentrated in 2018, more than most but it has the energy and the vibrancy to thrust it front and forward ending with a saline finish. Grenache and Cinsault fermented in cement, Syrah and Mourvèdre fermented in foudre. Drinking Window 2026 - 2036. (MW)
The 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape has slightly less Grenache than normal (10%) and has a Mourvèdre-dominated bouquet of blue fruits, crushed violets, charred meats, and a distinct minerality. This was a challenging vintage, particularly for Grenache, yet this estate has produced a brilliant wine that has medium to full body, a layered, deep, concentrated mid-palate, ripe tannins, and a gorgeous finish. As with most 2018s, it’s going to have plenty of upfront appeal, yet I suspect it will also age gracefully. One of the reference point estate in the Rhône Valley, as well as the entire wine world, is that of the Perrin Family’s Château de Beaucastel. Located in the northern, cooler part of the appellation, the estate covers roughly 100 hectares of vines from which they produce a red and white Côtes Du Rhône (from vines just outside the appellation), two Châteauneuf du Pape whites, and two Châteauneuf du Pape reds. Looking at the Châteauneuf du Papes, both whites are Roussanne dominated, with the Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc being roughly 80+% Roussanne, and the Roussanne Vieilles Vignes cuvée being 100% Roussanne. The Roussanne Vieilles Vignes is one of the greatest whites made in the world in just about every vintage and while it drinks beautifully young (a recent bottle of the 2014 was off the charts) it also has the capacity to evolve for decades. As to the reds, the classic cuvée comes all from vines around the estate and is unique for its high Mourvèdre content, with the blend
Deep ruby-red. Ripe dark berries, cherry liqueur and hints of garrigue, smoked meat and potpourri on the mineral-accented nose. Palate-staining black currant and cherry pie flavors show excellent clarity, chewy texture and a hint of spicecake that builds as the wine opens up. The energetic, impressively long finish repeats the floral and dark fruit notes, and youthfully chewy tannins add shape and solid closing grip. (JR)
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