One of my favorite whites in the world is the old vine Roussanne cuvée from Beaucastel, which comes from a single 3-hectare parcel just outside the domaine, in the northern, cooler part of Châteauneuf du Pape. The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes is another thrilling example of Roussanne and offers a vivid gold hue as well as gorgeous notes of white currants, honeysuckle, white flowers, crushed stone, and hints of gunpowder. With beautiful freshness, full-bodied richness, and ample power, it’s unquestionably the Montrachet of the Southern Rhône and a magical white. You can safely drink bottles anytime over the coming decade, then it’s best forgotten until around 20 years after the vintage.
There are a mere 500 cases of the 2019 Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes, which derives from vines planted in 1909. Showing fabulous richness and opulence allied to an impeccable sense of balance and nearly infinite persistence, it's a tour de force of white Châteauneuf. Hints of roasted pineapple and grilled lime mark the nose, while the medium to full-bodied palate boasts layers of honeyed, creamy decadence yet remains dry, zesty and refreshing at the same time. Like most great wines, it's a study in seeming contradictions drawn together into seamless elegance. While there's a chance this wine may go through a quiescent phase, it's singing now, and if history is any indication, it will also drink well in a decade or so. When I tasted with Marc Perrin back in 2019, he was insistent that 2018 was a terrific vintage, despite crop losses early in the season. Based on the performance of Beaucastel's finished wines, his assessment is understandable. The 2018s here are highly successful, showing ample concentration, complexity and length allied to considerable freshness. Yields in some parcels were as low as eight hectoliters per hectare, but the wines aren't jammy or overly tannic—although they are definitely structured to age. (JC)
Not as immediately opulent aromatically, a little toastier than usual. Very full-bodied with noble bitterness. The oak makes itself known on the finish, but it's all in good balance for the wine. Feels fairly dry, not quite such a rich and exotic style as usual. 50% goes into barriques, a quarter of which are renewed every year. The rest goes into stainless steel. Drinking Window 2020 - 2028. (MW)
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