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Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2018

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

Moving to the reds, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape showed nicely with a deep ruby/purple color as well as classic Beaucastel aromas and flavors of darker currents, blueberries, smoked meats, black licorice and roasted herbs. With medium to full-bodied richness, a pure, clean, elegant texture, sweet tannins, and a great finish, this seamless, elegant Beaucastel will be approachable in its youth, yet still have 20+ years of prime drinking.

Another in a string of top vintages, Beaucastel's 2018 Châteauneuf du Pape was produced from Grenache yields of only eight hectoliters per hectare ("normal" is about 28 hectoliters per hectare, according to Marc Perrin). The final blend I was shown is almost candied in its fruity intensity of raspberries and cherries, yet it has a potent underpinning of more savory elements, like tapenade, grilled meat and dried spices. Full-bodied, with fine, silky tannins, this shows tremendous length, reverberating with hints of crushed stone on the finish.

This is a towering, muscular Beaucastel this year with more depth, intensity and black fruit, pushing towards blackcurrant. It’s very dense and extremely concentrated in 2018, more than most but it has the energy and the vibrancy to thrust it front and forward ending with a saline finish. Grenache and Cinsault fermented in cement, Syrah and Mourvèdre fermented in foudre.

Deep ruby-red. Ripe dark berries, cherry liqueur and hints of garrigue, smoked meat and potpourri on the mineral-accented nose. Palate-staining black currant and cherry pie flavors show excellent clarity, chewy texture and a hint of spicecake that builds as the wine opens up. The energetic, impressively long finish repeats the floral and dark fruit notes, and youthfully chewy tannins add shape and solid closing grip.