The Vintage Variation Mixed Case
A few weeks ago, we released our ‘Pinot and its Many Players’ mixed case, which was all about the intriguing exercise of comparing contrasting expressions of a single variety, from different growers and regions against each other. This week, we are delighted to give you the opportunity to enjoy and compare three back-to-back vintages of one of the greatest examples of Cotes du Rhone, Coudoulet de Beaucastel. It is always truly fascinating to compare and contrast vintages and to see how drastically the weather during a particular growing season, impacts the style and profile of the wine produced. Tasting through a range of vintages is also a great way of weeding out the mediocre winemakers from the great ones! During years where the stars align and mother nature gives you all that you require and more, almost anyone can make a decent wine, however, true masters shine year in, year out, producing well crafting and quality wines, even during the vintages when everything seems to be going against you. Today with our ‘Vintage Variation’ special offer mixed case, we are most certainly in the presence of masters…the legendary Château du Beaucastel.
Chateau de Beaucastel is one of those estates that requires little, or no introduction. Since the Chateau was acquired by the Perrin family in 1909, Beaucastel has reached almost mythical status as one of the most important flagbearers for the Southern Rhone and in particular, Chateauneuf du Pape. The Beaucastel family can trace their history back to 1549, however the winery truly came into prominence under the assured captaincy of the Perrin family, when they took over the estate in 1909. Since then, the domaine has consistently pushed the boundaries and continued to raise the bar for the region with regards to not just the consistent quality of the wines produced, but also the winemaking practises. One example being that the over 100 Ha of vineyards have been organically cultivated since 1956, when the use of chemicals was all the rage. During this time they were also cultivating, at the time, unfashionable varieties such as Mourvèdre and Counoise to use in the blend. Their late-ripening Mourvedre truly came to define and distinguish Beaucastel’s dark, brooding, and complex signature style.
Beaucastel’s red Coudoulets, which we bring to you today, have been widely regarded as amongst the finest Còtes du Rhones in the world, for many years. They are from vineyards located barely 50m outside of the appellation limits of Chateauneuf du Pape, and vinified with the same practices and dedication, with the same mix of grape varieties (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault), as their illustrious, Chateau de Beaucastel Cuvée. So, in our minds, and the minds of many others, Beaucastel’s Coudoulets are basically ‘mini’ Chateauneuf du Pape’s, having far more in common with the wines of the illustrious cru, than they do with the vast majority of generic ‘Côtes du Rhone’ wines.
2015 and 16 have both become legendary vintages in the Southern Rhone. With ideal conditions throughout the season, with extended periods of great heat and sun, but also with a small amount of rain at the perfect times. All grapes were truly able to reach incredible levels of maturity and ripeness and the wines are powerful, bombastic, and rich. The main difference between the two was that 2016 wasn’t quite as blisteringly hot as 15, which resulted in the wines having a bit more finesse, fragrance, and freshness. 2017 on the other hand, was what growers call ‘a winemaker’s vintage’, one that was very hands on a required an exceptional amount of skill and vineyard management to produce the goods. It was a vintage of extremes, with damaging frost and hail peppering the vineyards, resulting in massive amounts of crop loss, whilst also seeing the longest period of heatwave and drought in 30 years. However, the Perrin family, whilst not producing as much wine, miraculously still managed to craft a wine with quality matching that of the 15 and 16, displaying once again, they’re talents as winemakers. Which vintage will turn out to be your personal favourite?
(These wines are best decanted, in order to get the full experience. They will also age well over the next 5-10 years if you choose to keep one of two behind in the cellar.)
This is a six-bottle mixed case, containing 2x each of the following wines:
Normal Retail Price - £150.60