Chateau de Beaucastel is the most prominent and well-recognized producer of Chateauneuf-du-Pape; most wine enthusiasts know the label even if they’ve never had a bottle. Granache is the most prominent grape in most Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines. Yet Beaucastel is almost singular in not giving Granache top billing in its blend. Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation rules allow thirteen varieties to be used, and in many vintages Beaucastel uses all thirteen. Let’s list the varieties: Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Clairette, Picpoul, Picardan, Bourboulenc and Roussanne. It is Beaucastel’s artful blending of these grapes that give the wines their legendary complexity.
This art has been passed down through five generations of the Perrin family. Beaucastel as it exists today was begun in 1909 by Pierre Perrin, a scientist who was given the property by his father-in-law. Currently, at least eight members of the extended clan manage various aspects of the estate. “Châteauneuf du Pape gets its complexity from blending the different grape varieties,” says François Perrin. “We could do single varietal [wines] but we will not achieve the same level.” Part of what makes the wine distinctive is the almost unique prominence given to Mourvedre which is sometimes 60% of the blend (a typical Chateauneuf is less than half that). Mourvedre is a small and thick-skinned grape that is difficult to grow but lends muscular tannic structure, depth and earthy flavor notes.
Beaucastel was one of the first domains in the region to practice organic farming starting in the 50s, and in the 70s they began incorporating biodynamic practices. The 2006 is right now in its drinking window should remain in excellent form for the next ten years. It is a fall or winter wine that will show well for upcoming holidays, or years of holidays ahead.
Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2006
Retail Price: $114.99
Sale Price: $99.97
Wine Advocate, 95 pts. - “Beaucastel’s 2006 Châteauneuf du Pape is performing even better from bottle than it did last year. Its dense plum/ruby/purple color is followed by a big, sweet perfume of black truffles, camphor, earth, incense, new saddle leather, and loads of peppery, blackberry, and herb-infused, meaty, black cherry fruit. Deep, full-bodied, and dense, with sweet tannin, this explosively rich Chateauneuf is a stronger effort than the 2005, 2004, or 2003.” (10/2008)
Wine Spectator, 95 pts.– “Powerful, with a round, almost creamy core of blackberry and raspberry fruit all layered with cocoa, sweet toast, mesquite and fig paste. Long and rich through the finish. Still quite primal, with lots in reserve. Best from 2010 through 2030.” (4/2009)
Jancis Robinson, 17.5/20 pts. – “Very attractive overripe fruit aroma with a touch of compost and farmyard – yet not overtly bretty or funky. Balanced, rounded, succulent and finely balanced – this is a great example of the style in the prime of its life, full of fruit but showing tertiary development too.” (10/2018)
Vinous, 94 pts. – “. . . It’s hard to argue with the simply magnificent 2006 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape Rouge, a masterpiece of refinement and precision. Not at all a blockbuster, but rather a paragon of balance and gracefulness, it offers finely spicy red berry and dark cherry nuances lifted by lavender and thyme. It’s a wine of remarkable clarity and cut.” (2/2019)
Past Cellar Selections:
Montevertine – Chianti for Wine Geeks
La Rioja Alta “890” Gran Reserva Rioja 2004
MeixFoulotMercurey 2017 – Burgundy for Bargain Hunters
Giuseppe Mascarello Nebbiolo 2018
Lopez de Heredia Bosconia 2006
Domaine Huët 2019 – Grand Cru from the Loire Valley
Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – Selected Bottles
Shafer Vineyards – Relentless, One Point Five and Chardonnay
Paul Jaboulet – Majestic Wines from the Northern Rhone
Alion and Pintia – The Other Vega Sicilias
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey – Magic in Burgundy
Domaine A. et P. de Villaine – Budget DRC?
Three Oderros: for the Picnic Table, the Dinner Table and the Cellar
Castilla Ygay 2010 – at 98 pts a ‘First Growth’ Rioja
Burgundy with age from Jean Chauvenet
Cornas and Côtes-du-Rhone from Franck Balthazar
Quintessa 2016 – 98pt Bordeaux Blend from Napa