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Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2013

AOC Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vallée du Rhône, France

2013 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (aged for eight months in 70% stainless steel tanks and 30% in wooden barrels): Bright yellow. Spicy orchard fruits and pit fruits on the deeply scented nose and in the mouth. Fleshy and broad, developing a floral nuance as the wine opens up. Melon and white peach notes linger on a long, subtly smoky finish that shows very good energy and focus.

Ripe and lush, with delicious Jonagold apple, creamed pear and melon flavors. Shows a buttered edge on the finish, delivering hints of verbena and bitter almond for contrast.

Reminding me of the 2012, the 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc, which was just bottled two weeks ago, has fabulous richness and depth in its honeysuckle, tangerine, white flowers and buttered almond-like aromas and flavors. It too shows the freshness and purity of the vintage, with integrated, yet juicy acidity, good concentration and serious length. It will be better in another year or so, drink nicely for 2-4 years, and then all bets are off. At that point, it’s best to cellar for a decade.

80% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picardin. Notably complex nose. Satin texture and real depth. Something to sink your teeth into.