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Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 2013

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

2013 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Roussanne Vieilles Vignes (aged in a 50/50 blend of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels for eight months): Light, vivid gold. Intensely perfumed aromas of poached pear, orange, candied fig and jasmine slowly acquire a hint of fennel. Smooth, sappy and expansive on the palate, offering rich, mineral-laced orchard fruit and pit fruit flavors that show a suave blend of richness and energy. Finishes very long and sappy, displaying excellent clarity and building mineral and floral notes.

Ripe and bright, with gorgeous creamed peach, pear and ginger notes forming the core, while verbena, chamomile and honeysuckle accents create the frame. Lush through the finish, where a light salted butter hint emerges.

Similar in color to the classic white, the 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes is deeper and richer, with more viscosity, glycerin and minerality. Loaded with notes of buttered citrus, flowers, orange marmalade and crushed-rock nuances, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied power, juicy, lively acidity and terrific length. Like the classic white, this does not go through malolactic fermentation, but sees slightly more oak (some new) in its élevage, which always gives it slightly more richness, as well as hints of vanilla in its youth. It’s unquestionably the greatest white wine coming from the Southern Rhône, and while I prefer to drink it in its first 4-6 years, it can evolve for decades.