WTN: Beaucastel 1989-2000

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WTN: Beaucastel 1989-2000

Postby Bill Spohn » Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:43 pm

Beaucastel has always been a favourite Chateauneuf for me, because, rather than despite the atypically high Mourvedre content that mandates extended maturation to get rid of the youthful pong. I’ve done several verticals as the wines were developing. I did one in 2006 covering 1981 – 1999

http://www.westcoastwine.net/ubbthreads ... ber=320034

I did it again in 2009 covering 1988-2004

http://www.cherryvillage.com/ubbthreads ... ber=355238

and I here I am four years later reprising vintages from 1989 – 2000.

To quote myself in earlier notes:

Beaucastel is both the longest lived and one of the most atypical wines of the region, and both come from the insistence on the part of Jacques Perrin (the father for whom the famous selection ‘Hommage’ was created) on maintaining a consistently high (usually around 30%) level of Mourvedre in the wines. Of all the southern Rhone producers, only La Nerthe exceeds them in this.

What that means is that not only has Beaucastel traditionally been a long lasting wine, but that you also need to give it at least 6 – 10 years for the Mourvedre ‘pong’ to settle down and the wine to come into focus, and then to enjoy it for the following 10 -12 years or more. This was all explained by the Perrins when I first visited Beaucastel in 1991, and I have observed that their wines have tended to follow this path. What it also meant was that the wines usually went through a closed stage where they were relatively inexpressive, and then came out the other end into full bloom at their plateau of tasting, where they would hold, usually for many years.


This time we started off with the regular white:

2011 Blanc – light in colour, and showing a very pleasant floral nose with peach overtones, the wine showed surprising sweetness on entry and carried through with good body and length. Very nice start.

With stinging nettle risotto and morels:

1989 – this has a reputation for bottle variation but this one seemed fine, and like all the other wines this day, lacked any significant bret. The previous times I’d compared this with the 1990 side by side, they had been of very similar weight, with the 89 having more tannin. Now, though, a big change – garnet colour, very ripe nose, lots of acidity, decent finish. The wine became more enticing as well as Burgundian with time in the glass and was enjoyed by all. It seemed much further along than last time.

1990 – always a favourite for me. This was darker, and the nose was more typically Rhone with garrigue, spice and good depth of fruit, a sweet entry with excellent fruit levels in the mouth, good flavour concentration and an exceptionally long finish. This time around I preferred the 90, but the 89 was the favourite of some as well. The 90 needed time to open in the glass, so if you pop a cork on one, be patient.

With duck breast:

1999 – sweet mellow nose with dark cherry notes, good concentration, sweet finish, probably at peak.

1995 – good straight ahead non-funky Rhone nose, sweet fruit on palate, sweet and long. Just coming into focus and a good life ahead.

1994 – a surprise – this wine showed quite well and developed nicely in the glass. Lighter colour, more elegant, with slight funk in the nose, some soft tannin, medium length. Some actually preferred it to the 1995. A good showing.

With lamb sirloin:

1998 – ripe leather rather reminiscent of the 1989, slightly funky, sweet and mellow in the mouth, a very attractive wine. I tasted this last December and had found it rather simple and disappointing considering the vintage and pedigree, but this bottle was much better. Uncharacteristically high proportion of Grenache.

2000 – bright sweet fruit with hints of iodine in the nose, lavish fruit on palate and sweet as it slid across the tongue, this wine seems to need more time than I thought when I tasted it in 2009. Very attractive! Glad I have a few and won’t rush to open them.

Finished up with the wine that I had previously used to open these verticals.

1993 Vielles Vignes Rousanne – amber colour, very interesting nose with peachy and Riesling hints as well as white pepper and orange peel. Ripe, only slight hints of oxidation, a long dry finish. Still a very interesting wine. Made in small amounts from a 4 hectare plot (400 cases/year) and priced to suit, unfortunately. People either love this or dislike it – a very unusual wine.
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Re: WTN: Beaucastel 1989-2000

Postby Jon Leifer » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:15 pm

Great notes and thank you..Went through a case each of the 89 and 90 Beau and no off bottles of the 89....Often overlooked because of the spectacular 89 and 90, the 88 was also a fine wine with very different flavor profile and aromatics when compared to the 2 following vintages....Still have some of the 94 left and it has been terrific to date.
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Re: WTN: Beaucastel 1989-2000

Postby Bill Spohn » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:19 pm

I agree about the 1988, but sadly have none in my cellar. Very decent wine.
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Re: WTN: Beaucastel 1989-2000

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:41 pm

Always thankful for more data points on the 1998. It is a frustratingly inconsistent bottle!
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Re: WTN: Beaucastel 1989-2000

Postby Mark Lipton » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:46 am

Thanks for those notes, Bill. I'm holding on to many of those wines (still have a bottle of the '90) so notes like yours help satisfy curiosity without popping corks.

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Re: WTN: Beaucastel 1989-2000

Postby Ted Richards » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:45 pm

Thanks for the notes, Bill. I have all of them in my cellar, so that was really useful. If you're ever in Toronto, let me know and I'll put together a vertical of Beaucastel (or Chave Hermitage, or Bruno Giacosa, Marcarini or Giacomo Conterno Barolos, or Ridge Zins, or Taylor VP, or ...). (Do you think I've been collecting for a long time :D )

P.S. I agree with you and Jon about the 1988 Beaucastel. Wish I had some left.
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Re: WTN: Beaucastel 1989-2000

Postby Jon Leifer » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:52 pm

Me too, Ted and Bill..Alas, no 88 Beau in my cellar as well
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