Château de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Vallée du Rhône, Perrin & Fils, vin, France
The white wines of Château de Beaucastel are amongst the finest expressions of Roussanne grapes grown in a warm climate. The two cuvees have a lot in common but show different personalities: the standard bottling, made from 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc, whose vines are between 10 and 40 years old, and a small quantity of the “Vieilles Vignes” cuvee, produced entirely from Roussanne vines of at least 65 years of age.
Both are examples of the intense aromatic possibilities shown by the Roussanne grape when certain principles are respected. First, yields must be kept extremely low; then great care must be taken in the vineyard to ensure healthy, strong vines, producing ripe grapes in perfect condition; finally, depending on the vintage, the grapes must be harvested at the right moment and vinified correctly.
As with any great wine, the story of Château de Beaucastel Blanc begins in the vineyard: in this case a seven hectare site close to the Château itself.
The soil here is similar to that of the red wine vineyard: a thick layer of Miocene marine molasses overlaid with alpine diluvium. As with Coudoulet, this carpet of rounded stones helps the grapes get off to a good start in the spring and allows them to attain perfect ripeness.
When the right moment has been determined, the grapes are harvested by hand and taken quickly to the winery in small baskets. A second hand sorting is done upon arrival to cull any unripe or damaged grapes. After a light pneumatic pressing, the must is allowed to clarify overnight. Thirty percent of the wine is fermented in barrels and the remainder in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. Once the malo-lactic fermentation is completed, half of the new wine matures in small oak barrels and half in vats for about eight months. The Vieilles Vignes cuvée is kept in oak for a longer period.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, between Orange and Avignon. The Chateau de Beaucastel white vineyard covers 7 hectares / 14 acres.
Miocene marine molasses overlaid with alpine diluvium (large round pebbles known locally as ''galets'').
Roussanne 80%, Grenache blanc 15%, various varieties 5%.
Grapes hand picked and collected in baskets prior to sorting, pneumatic pressing and clarification of the must. Fermentation of 30% in new oak barrels and 70% in vats.
For eight months, 30% in barrel, 70% in vats, blended then bottled.
Tasting notes Colour: pale yellow. Nose: acacia flowers, honey. Palate: very rich and smooth.
Serve lightly chilled at 10 °C /50 °F in a fine tasting glass.