About this WINE
Chateau de Beaucastel
Château de Beaucastel is one of the most consistently impressive properties in the south of France and a worthy flag-bearer for its famous appellation. The main challenge of the 2019 vintage was the deluge of rain at the start of the season and the relative drought which followed. However, the Perrin family’s largely organic and biodynamic approach coupled with a very high average vine age meant they were more able to balance the yo-yo effects of the seasons. While we offered their full range upon release back in November 2020, we kept a little of two wines back to include alongside our wider Rhône offering. The 2019s are true to the vintage, individual terroirs and the Perrin/Beaucastel traditions, offering complexity alongside balance and structure.
The most celebrated village of the Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the birthplace of the now indispensable French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée system – imperfect though it may be. Compared to the Northern Rhône, the vineyards here are relatively flat and often feature the iconic galet pebbles – the precise benefits of which are a source of much debate. Minimum alcohol levels required by the AOC are the highest in France, but at 12.5% it is well below the natural generosity of Grenache, which only achieves its full aromatic potential when it is fully ripe and laden with the resultant high sugars. Syrah and Mourvèdre contribute the other defining elements in the blend, adding pepper, savoury spice and structure to the decadent Grenache. There are a further 10 permitted red grape varieties which can be used to adjust the “seasoning”. Of the five white varieties permitted, it is Grenache Noir’s sibling – predictably perhaps – Grenache Blanc, which dominates, though Roussanne shows a great deal of promise when handled well, notably at Château de Beaucastel.
Marsanne is the predominant white grape variety grown in the Northern Rhône where it is used to produce white St. Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, and Hermitage. It is a tricky grape to cultivate, being susceptible to diseases and being particularly sensitive to extreme climatic changes - if growing conditions are too cool, then it fails to ripen fully and produces thin, insipid wines, while, if too hot, the resultant wines are blowsy, overblown and out of balance.
In the Northern Rhône it tends to be blended with around 15% Rousanne and produces richly aromatic, nutty wines which age marvellously - the best examples are from Hermitage and particularly from Chapoutier. Increasingly it is being grown in the Southern Rhône and Languedoc Roussillon where it is bottled as a single varietal or blended with Roussanne, Viognier, and sometimes Chardonnay. It is also grown very successfully in Victoria in Australia where some of the world`s oldest Marsanne vines are to be found.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 31/10/2011
(Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding MW & Tamlyn Currin- jancisrobinson.com, 19 Nov 2010)