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Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2011

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

This wine takes white Châteauneuf-du-Pape to rare heights. Mouthwatering aromas of toasted nuts and pineapple set the stage for a full-bodied, rich, succulent wine experience whose finish lingers. Yet despite the wine’s undeniable heft, it never seems overly weighty. Drink this blend of 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc over the next couple of years.

Bottled. Savoury, almost reminiscent of a Condrieu on the nose. Quite light on the palate – transparent. Doesn’t taste especially strong. Lively and easy rather than especially ‘serious’.

A lush, tropical style, with a lovely core of papaya and creamed peach backed by acacia honey and lightly toasted macadamia nut notes. The long, creamy finish has a beautiful mouthfeel, while the papaya note echoes on.

The 2011 is sensational, a wine of great complexity, intensity and full-bodied power. Lots of rose petal, marmalade, honeysuckle, candle wax, tangerine and orange rind notes make up this fabulously rich, intense wine that just blows me away every time I taste it in its youth. Whether it ages well or not is always debatable, but I would certainly drink it over the next 4-5 years, given the fact that it is so remarkable already.

The 2011, with is 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache blanc vinified in tank, is showing tremendous notes of honeyed grapefruit, white peach, apricot, marmalade, crushed rock and spring flowers. Now these wines are made from earlier harvested grapes and no malolactic, so they should age slightly better and more evenly than they have in the past.

Extravagant is the word for this wine, from its sweet floral scents to its saturated texture. A blend of 80 percent roussanne and 20 percent grenache blanc fermented in tank, it’s like an eternal well of flavor, juicy, floral, herbal and spicy. The acidity rides through the flavors like an electric current, invisibly energizing the wine, and promising to hold it strong while it mellows in the cellar. It’s delicious now for a celebratory meal, but should be even more compelling in another six to twelve years, when the minerality has more time to assert its presence.

Very sleek and refined despite the obvious heft, featuring steeped red and black currant fruit studded with bergamot, blood orange, sweet tobacco and alder notes. The long, racy finish has a lovely echo of singed mesquite.