Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2018

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Wine Advocate, 97 Points- Another in a string of top vintages, Beaucastel's 2018 Châteauneuf 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.

Wine maker notes- The wine: Château de Beaucastel has long been regarded as one of the greatest wines in France. It is notorious for its elegance, balance and ageing potential. Beaucastel has an exceptional terroir at the Northern limit of Châteauneuf du Pape, exposed to the Mistral wind. All thirteen varieties of the appellation have been organically grown since the sixties.

The vintage: The 2018 vintage is characterised by exceptional weather conditions. Flowering took place in the best possible conditions, with a historically abundant grape output. A few rainy episodes at the end of the spring complicated things a little with an attack of mildew, but the good weather then settled down until harvest, which took place under idyllic conditions. The wines are beautiful.

Location: Châteauneuf du Pape, between Orange and Avignon, Château de Beaucastel red is a 70-hectare vineyard.

Terroir: Château de Beaucastel is 110 hectares, with one single plot at the north of the appellation. The terroir is archetypal of the best terroirs in Châteauneuf: rolled pebbles on the surface, sand, clay and limestone deeper down. The vines are old and have been organically grown for 50 years, which has allowed the roots to grow exceptionally deep.

Beaucastel grows all thirteen grape varieties authorized by the appellation.

Ageing: Each variety is harvested separately and manually. Vinification takes place in oak fermenters for the reductive varieties (Mourvèdre, Syrah) and in traditional enameled concrete tanks for the Oxidative grapes (all the others). Once the malolactic fermentation is finished, the Famille Perrin blends the different varieties. The blend is then aged in oak Foudres for a year before being bottled.

Varietals- Grenache: 30%, Mourvèdre: 30%, Syrah: 15%, Counoise: 10%, Vaccarèse, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Clairette, Picpoul, Picardan, Bourboulenc, Roussanne: 10%, Cinsault  5%