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Château de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet Rouge 2005

AOC Côtes du Rhône, Vallée du Rhône, France

A very agreeable expression of colour. This vintage has a structured nose. On the palate it is powerful and balanced with significant freshness; a very attractive style of Chateauneuf-du-Pape with the characteristics of Grenache. Ready to be opened now, preferably in the cold weather to pair with a winter dish or to cellar.

The 2005 Beaucastel Coudoulet Cotes du Rhone is another outstanding example of this Cotes du Rhone made essentially across the border from Chateauneuf du Pape. Notes of tapenade, licorice, smoked herbs, and meat juices interwoven with black cherry and darker fruits are followed by an expansive, broadly flavored, full-bodied wine with no hard edges, gorgeous fruit purity, and a long, spicy, heady finish. This is almost the bottled essence of Provence.

Gamey and concentrated. I’m hesitating between accusing this of slight TCA and the old horsey Beaucastel character. Very chewy. Pretty tough end. Anthony Lacey, the importer, assured me he had tasted every bottle so this is obviously the endemic character.

The estate reds include the 2005 Coudoulet, which is a high-class Cotes du Rhone offering up notes of black cherries, blackberry, ground pepper, and hints of licorice and seaweed. It is medium to full-bodied, has good acidity for a 2005, and moderate tannin.

This still has some brawny grip, with dark currant, chestnut and briar notes laced with a streak of hot stone. There's a tarry edge on the finish. Tight still. Needs a little more time.