Bottling: 2000 Chateaneuf du Pape
Importer: Vineyard Brands
Sub-Region: Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley
Estimated Retail Price: $65-$70 on release
Tasting Notes: To sum it up succinctly, this Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape was impressive. That’s it. Go out and buy it, or any other of their current or past vintages. Ok, here’s a little more information.
I was a little scared upon opening the bottle, because looking at the cork, the wine seemed to have at some point in its voyage from the winery to my parents’ house (where I stole the bottle from) suffered some sort of heat stress. In my experience with cases like these, its usually been 50/50 on whether or not the wine survived. Wines that survived a heat stressed voyage or storage have usually been white wines with a fair amount of residual sugar like auslese level rieslings or big, red, premium wines with muscular tannins.
This wine fit the bill on the latter characteristic and was fine without question. Beautiful dark red and purple hues were given off by the wine as it rested in the glass. Barnyard aromas of the pleasant smelling variety, as well as baked blue, black and red berries filled the nose on the first whiff. In the mouth were the same berry flavors as well as white and black pepper.
As far as the mouth feel and tannins? This wine had polished, classy, fine and muscular tannins that signaled that the wine had plenty of life left in it. The finish in your mouth went on for what seemed like hours. Velvety, silky and chewy all at the same time.
What was intriguing about this wine was how fresh the fruit tasted despite the age of the wine. It was as if it was released just last year.
Food Pairing & Context in Which to Enjoy: We had this wine with a my award-winning home made Paella. A lighter Cotes du Rhone may have been a better match, but we had guests in town that I wanted to share this bottle with, so what the heck. In the future, robust dishes that use game meats would be more appropriate for this wine.
Winery & Other Background Information: With this wine, I finally had a first-hand experience with what the industry reviewers are talking about when they evaluate a Chateauneuf du Pape. Often times I’ll read a review and see that the reviewer gave a Chateauneuf du Pape a drinking window of “drink now through 2025” 2025?! That’s a long drinking window.
Chateauneufs seem to have a rare combination of early drinking ability and cellar worthiness that you don’t find in a lot of wines. I usually find the two characteristics mutually exclusive.
Beaucastel also makes a baby version of this wine, meant to drink early; a Cotes du Rhone called Coudoulet. It is excellent and usually weighes in around $25 – $30 bucks.