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Château de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet Rouge 2003

AOC Côtes du Rhône, Vallée du Rhône, France

Wonderfully clear fruit - blueberry, redcurrant, blackberry and spice. The fruit is pure and ripe on the palate, quite light in structure and not as good looking as the 2004 was earlier this year. (RH)

The 2003 Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet rouge shows notes of tar, scorched earth, herbs, black cherries, more rugged tannins, and a slightly drier, austere finish than the 2004. It is a good 2003, but for the Perrins, the 2004 is one of their great vintages.

The deep ruby/purple-tinged 2003 Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet rouge (30% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, and 20% Syrah) offers sweet scents of licorice, pepper, black currants, and cherry jam. Spicy and medium-bodied, with a touch of dry tannin, it is not as huge a blockbuster as several previous vintages, but is a finely made red that should age nicely for 10-12 years.