Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes Roussanne 2020
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Even better, the 2020 Châteauneuf Du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes comes from a single parcel of very old vines and is 100% Roussanne brought up in barrel. It too is medium to full-bodied and incredibly concentrated, with brilliant white currants, green almond, honeyed mineral, and spice-driven aromas and flavors. The balance is just about perfect, as is the purity of fruit, and this incredible white is one of the top releases in the vintage. As I’ve written in the past, it’s the Montrachet of the Southern Rhône and can evolve for decades in cold cellars.
From vines planted in 1909, the 2020 Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes is entirely barrel-fermented and matured, half in new oak from Chassin and half in second-use steam-bent barriques from Dargaud & Jaegle. It's much like the regular Beaucastel CdP Blanc, but more—and sometimes more really is more. With waves of honeyed pear and pineapple fruit folded together on the full-bodied palate, it's creamy and rich, yet vibrant and refreshing on the long, luxurious finish. The aging curve of this wine is never easy to predict, as some vintages close up tight soon after release only to open up after several years in the cellar, while others seem to exude opulence throughout their life. Best after 2021
Wonderful nose of acacia honey and ripe apricot. Super-concentrated with great textural complexity, this white Chateauneuf is built on a lavish scale, but is so precise and glides off into the far distance. 100% roussanne from ancient vines. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold
The first evidence of Château de Beaucastel as it exists today is in the sixteenth century. In 1909, Pierre Traminer bought the estate and then transferred it to his son-in-law Pierre Perrin, a scientist who further developed Beaucastel. His son, Jacques, continued his father’s efforts until 1978 and today, the torch is carried by Jacques’ sons, Jean-Pierre and François. They are joined by the fifth generation of Perrins—Marc, Pierre, Thomas, Cécile, Charles, Matthieu, and César.
The vineyards of Château de Beaucastel are located on historic land where each of the 13 approved grapes varietals of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation are planted. The art of blending these 13 grapes has been passed down from one generation to the next. Beaucastel is, first of all, a family story, the story of Famille Perrin. Their main strength is being able to blend the talents of each family member to run the wine estate under common values: absolute respect for land and terroir; biodynamic culture as a philosophy of life; and the research of truth, balance, and elegance.
Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called "galets" in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.
According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsault, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.
Only about 6-7% of wine from Châteauneuf-du-Pape is white wine. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.
The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.
Full and silky in body but also charmingly crisp, Roussanne is native to the Rhône Valley of France. It is responsible for some of the finest Northern Rhône white wines. Roussanne adds richness and acidity to Marsanne’s soft, fruitiness, making age worthy and highly respected whites. Somm Secret—Roussanne takes its name from the French word, roux, meaning rouge or red because of the berry’s pink glow. In California, virtually all of the 339 acres of Roussanne come from true clones brought over by Tablas Creek and John Alban.