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The Wines

30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 10% Counoise, 7-10% Syrah, 5% Cinsault, 15-18% other varieties, aged large barrel 18 months, fined, unfiltered, 240,000 b

2018

(large barrel) dark, deep robe. The bouquet is intense, has well judged, stylish depth, centres on mulberry, raspberry fruit, a note of blackcurrant liqueur, and a mark of Mourvèdre in its licorice. The palate bears streamlined black fruit, swell content, has agile freshness to help its length and clarity. The fruit quality is high, so this will please for its purity. There are well ripened tannins around it. It’s a fruit-led, airborne year, with finesse well on the agenda, can be drunk successfully earlier than the 2015, 2016, 2017, say. From 2022. 2043-45 Oct 2019 Previously Oct 2018 Syrah: very dark, intense robe. Good release in the black berry fruit, has a swish delivery, a pleasing spring in its step. There are soaked fruits with damp, mineral touches. The palate is immediate, wholesome, sustained, carries well to the finish. This will line the wine well. 24 yrs. Mourvèdre: dark robe; chocolatey aroma, good strength sustaining it, has a floral note that floats gracefully above it. The palate is stylish, flows well, has a mineral inflexion towards the fresh, long finish. 28-30 yrs. These are both promising, offer flair as well.  Oct 2018 at the Château

2017 ()

dark, full robe; the bouquet has a meaty note [Mourvèdre] with blackcurrant fruit, grilling, a sure intensity. It’s scaled, requires time. The palate is assertive from the start, holds coiled, firm content, with a slightly stubborn release of juice in the second half. The tannins are munchy, rather dense, require further seasoning, while the length is persistent. There’s a good amount here which will gradually come together. It breathes some southern strength throughout, is firmly planted on the ground. The 2018 is more airborne. From 2023. 2044-46 Oct 2019 Previously Oct 2018 ***** (barrels) complete, full robe, more black than red; The bouquet is wide and vigorous, in the here and now, presents a blackcurrant fest with a note of dustiness, an oily essence in the depth of the fruit. There is a hovering note of baking from the drought, but it achieves a slinky presence within. The palate is well concentrated, has a sure length and very well-filled second half, ending on a flourish of black berry fruit and a wave of Mourvèdre-licorice tannin. This is sizeable, persistent Beaucastel, has energy and life force in it. From late 2021. 2042-44 Oct 2018

2016

(barrels) dark red, black and purple tints. The nose has a soft, squeezy black berry fruiting, mulberry and raspberry in the second register – they provide a milder note. There’s a rather stylish sweetness, an implication of rosemary, herbs and lamb stock. There’s a good box of varied tricks to come. This is immediately enjoyable on the palate, is running with squelchy, wavy mixed berry fruits. The tannins are ripe and deep, and approachable, fleshy. This is Beaucastel in the more modern recent style. There is velvet wine within an actually firm casing; it has more foundation than the 2015. From 2021. 2038-40 Château de Beaucastel, Oct 2017 As an indication of the quality of the vintage right across the board, François Perrin showed me this 50 hl barrel of Counoise (1982) at 12.4°: **** red robe. Has a prominent spice-clove aroma with rose, musky tones, black pepper, real good clarity. The palate stretches out well, has a keen freshness, and beau red fruits, with nerve. It ends on fine red juice, is a serene wine. “The Counoise was abundant this year, and this is the opposite of an extraction wine,” François Perrin. Previously Oct 2017, London ***** (mixed barrels) bright, full red colour. The nose offers sweet, bosky, mixed herbs, hay airs, a discreet black cherry inside, also raspberry. It’s a gourmand, open arms start. Grenache leads it, and there is a stiff inner, indicating potential. The palate gives a full package of suave gras richness and coated tannins, all in a sphere. There is munchable content with the 2016 texture of smooth and sure depth, well-fitting tannins, and low-key freshness. It is more fleshy and over than in previous decades, but is tuneful and stylish. It may well close – don’t be deceived by its current flattery. From 2020-21. 2036-39 Oct 2017 GB £240 6 b i/b https://www.sundaytimeswineclub.co.uk/jsp/content.jsp?pg=rhone16

2015

dark robe. The nose has an oak-varnish top air, a good, serene inset of black berry fruit which is stylish, also shows tobacco, white pepper. The palate is crisp, purposeful, holds very good juice running with freedom; it takes on gummy tannins with a touch of firm intent. It ends solidly, surely. There is a good swish of content for the first half. Take your time with this – from 2021. The length is good, very Mourvèdre-inspired. Bottled July 2017. 2038-41 Oct 2017 Previously Sept 2016 ***** (barrels, various different varieties tasted one by one, bottling Apr-May 2017: 1) (Counoise, 1979, planted by François Perrin, harvested 15 Sept, 5-10% of the wine, 12.8°, 50 hl barrel) **** red robe; has a classic Counoise nose, packed with pepper, clove, flowers, also strawberry. This has a tip toe delicacy, serene juice, red berries. It is digestible, round, supple, spiced and stylish. Has stealthy length, too. “It’s a bit our Pinot noir, and takes away the solar side of the wine,” François Perrin. 20 years. 2) (Cinsault, 1965-66, 49 hl barrel) **** nice full red robe. Red fruits that are very clear show on the nose, with some reduction, has three-quarter depth, is pretty assured. The palate starts well, bear stylish red fruit, cosy tannins, is shapely, has a belle dimension. The fat here is kind, safe, the gras tender. The close is peppery. 19-21 years. 3) (Terret Noir, Muscardin, Vaccarèse, early 1970s, planted by Jacques Perrin, called The Collection, from 2 hectares, 13.6°, 63 hl barrel) **** dark red robe. Has a sealed, rather sturdy nose which gives good dark red fruit which it doesn’t hand out openly, has a suggestion of herbs. The palate repeats the compact, close-knit style of the nose, with structure and firm tannins. This doesn’t come from the charm school, is well founded, masculine, has red blood aspects with white pepper touches, and good, fresh length. 21 years. 4) (Grenache, 63 hl barrel) ****(*) dark robe. Has a compact, reductive, really persistent nose with deep berry fruits and beefy depth. The palate coasts, its richness quite high degree, but that is well enveloped, is plump and fat. It is a bit asleep today, has nice length, genuine fullness and roundness, with a pocket of late salt. 24 years 5) (Syrah, 55 hl barrel) ****(*) dark red. There is a swirl of different agents on the nose, blood and pulp, red fruits such as raspberry – the aroma goes widely and largely across the glass. The palate has style, is well founded, rich at heart, continues very well, has a peppery close, a northern Rhône angle there. Good and munchable wine, a very good contributor to the blend. 23 years 6) (Mourvèdre, av 60 years, 13.6°, 63 hl barrel) ****** big, dark robe. There is latent strength in the nose, black berry and licorice; it is very deep, not obvious, has airs of herbes de Provence. This shows excellent freshness, is really stylish, long and full of pedigree, has great class. This lights up the day, is fine and clear, has real good detail. It is very high quality, a great achievement for a wine from the south. Extreme quality balance. 25+ years. 2039-44 Sept 2016  GB £225 6 b in bond £450 6 mags in bond  Justerini & Brooks www.justerinis.com GB/HK £225 6 b i/b £450 24 1/2 b i/b £195 1 Jereboam in bond £450 6 mags i/b £170 1 Jereboam i/b Goedhuis +44(0)207 793 7900 +852 2801 5999 sales@goeduis.com hksales@goedhuis.com www.goedhuis.com

2014

dark, thorough robe, black tints. Blackberry, black raisin, ripe blueberry mix on the nose; it has sound stuffing, will take a little time to open and diversify. The palate has a gourmand nature, holds really charming, plump fruit and content, the tannins rounded and well in step. A spherical Beaucastel this year, on the more instant pleasure trail than the major vintages. It’s savoury, delicious, pleasing. From mid-2017, but it is showing well now. It’s a bit like 2006. 14°. “I like the cool style of 2016, with low degrees,” François Perrin. 2029-31 Sept 2016 Previously Nov 2015 **** (barrel) dark, attractive red robe. Blackberry fruit with a small appealing sweetness features on the nose, and a little licorice – it is very streamlined and young and puckish; this is a curvy bouquet. The palate attacks on fluid, tasty fruit, black berries, with squeezy tannins. This captures the charm of 2014, isn’t a complex affair. There is fine grain in the tannins, a grip there in a precise close. This is easy access Beaucastel on this showing. From 2018. 2033-35 GB £180/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Nov 2015

2013 ()

dark red robe. The nose has a lot of oily, abundant, coated blackberry fruit on display, with a sweet herbs, rosemary hover and a strong strike of licorice. It is broad and will do well. The palate is well and smoothly textured but also provides clear fruit, and bright, still direct tannins. The mid-palate is tasty, well-juiced, before the garrigue dustiness of the tannins. Bright and interesting, and a gainer over time. From mid-2018. 2034-36  Oct 2015 Previously Nov 2014 **** (barrel) dark red, magenta touches in the robe. A supple, blackberry roll of fruit traverses the glass; it has an inner sweetness that please, with fringes of smoke, tannin, mixed herbs of Provence. This attacks on gourmand, rounded fruit, has the texture and flavour of mulled fruits with a thread of power and spirit present, discernibly so. The fruit resembles raspberry and mulberry, soaked red cherries. Very much a Beaucastel from a quiet vintage – it lacks the full width and frame of the best years. Has decent length. Similarities to 2006? A wine with enjoyable juicy moments; it has been well manoeuvred, the style more plush than rigorous. The aftertaste is aromatic, supply fruited, with fair gras there. From 2018. Decant this. GB £210/6 bots in bond Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com  £420 12 b in bond H2Vin GB www.h2vin.co.uk 2030-32 Nov 2014

2012 ()

dark red. Smoky bacon, cassis fruit aroma in a nose that is on the retreat, close to shutting down for the time being. There is a red fruit lozenge and a touch of garrigue herbs aspect within. The palate is stylish, works on red fruits with a swift and close attention from free wheeling, shapely tannins. The content washes along with an attractive, tasty freedom, more plum fruited than dark. The juice is pure, attractive. From 2018. 2032-34 Oct 2015  Previously Oct 2013 ***** (barrel) dark, full pedigree, shiny robe with legs down it. Crushed nuts, cornfields, stylish and deeply set black fruit in the nose, its aromas going in and across, reflects non-Grenache grapes especially. It is deep, but also free, has an air of bright Morello cherry. There is a most appealing central spot of tasty, fluid black fruit, near liqueur, coulis in style above all – fruit pastilles on roller skates here. The licorice seasoning enters, and there are mocha and herbs on the go towards the finish, sensuous fruit and a texture that takes the ripe tannin in its stride. Long, polished cassis blackcurrant concentrates on the aftertaste. Very well set to go places, modern Châteauneuf-du-Pape, more rock n’roll Beaucastel at a young age than in the past. Is balanced, has no excess heat, could be drunk quite young. Not one of the very long-lived Beaucastels. A tad behind the Hommage 2012, but gives it a good run for its money this year.  2032-35  Oct 2013

2011

dark red, some legs. Crushed nut shells, blackberry jam and prune airs feature on the nose, some weight of sweetness, low-key thyme and laurel. There is plenty in the bouquet for the future. This is tight fit, with plenty of gras at its centre. The attack centres on blueberry, is more coolly fruited than the mid to late palate. It lacks the clear-cut pedigree of 2012, reminds me more of a 2000, open and unpretentious. Its black fruits show openly, while quite refined, grainy bone tannins complete the route. The tannins aren’t up to the standard of the 2010, even 2012, and are a bit gummy. From 2015-16. Bottled June 2013. 2027-30  Oct 2013  Previously Oct 2012 ****(*) three varieties, followed by a pre-assemblage example that is equivalent to about 80% of the final wine. Grenache: ***(*) sound red; elegant, round, shapely red fruit, restrained nose. Careful, steady run of red fruit on the palate, good late grip, gentle tannin. Good, three-quarter depth body. 15-16 years. Syrah ***(*) shiny, quite dark; blackberry jam, herbs – a juicy air that can vary well. Cautious black fruit, a little grain inside it. Has a pretty fresh exit. 14-15 years. Mourvèdre ****(*) dark red. Good intensity on the nose, broad and prolonged, promising. There is a nut, grain note in the black fruit that is tasty, well-ripened. A very good, properly ripened Mourvèdre here. Excellent, fine, well-balanced. 16-17 years. The pre-assemblage, 80% of the wine: ****(*) comfortable full red robe. The non-Grenache fruits lead via a juicy, good and aromatic blackberry fruit jelly, small berries evoked in the imagination. Licorice and black cherry airs mingle. Tasty, drinkable, flowing palate – a sunny bounty in the glass, very much a southern sweetness with an interior finesse. The mid to late palate are squeezy and juicy, and griottes - soaked black cherries - are present in the flavour. It lengthens quite freshly. Not a Big Year, more a harmonious wine. 13.5°. 2029-31. “It is very pure – I like it a lot; the aroma is very intense, and it is fresh but filled wine. It is truly like 2000, a vintage where the fruit goes right to the finish,” Marc Perrin.  Oct 2012

2010

shiny, full red – the robe has life in it. The nose is starting to close, has a saline, crushed pistachio shells, hay and dry soil statement, grilling, along with licorice and violet. The fruit within resembles black berries. The bouquet gives the sense of an important wine of proper authority. The palate comes forward on sealed, dark fruits, lissom and live tannins, a joyful abundance that delivers a polished, partly mysterious experience, especially on the later stages, where matters start to integrate. It reaches out very well, travelling both forwards and sideways. Its great ace is its harmony and progression, a perfect Everly Brothers duet. Excellent wine – as it should be in 2010. From 2018. 2042-45  Oct 2013  Previously Nov 2011 ****** (barrel) full surge of dark red, some black tints in the robe. Smoky, woods-raisin first air, a really deep prune, a smoked aroma with a tunnel of depth – it is definitely dark and licorice infused, while for the future, there are some deft floral touches, so I reckon it can become gracious. The palate is full up with cautiously expressed red berry, red stone fruits that have oak wrapped around them, a nutty coating. I find a little degree, a spirit on the debut and in its top note as it criss-crosses across the palate. Muscular wine that has a lot within it, matter that is not as yet on the surface. It has Beaucastel grip and tenacity in its quite steely tannins. A wine that will live a long time. I put it as a mix of 1989 and 1990. It is less dense than the 2009, and in time will be more curvy. From 2016. 2038-40 Nov 2011

2009

dark, full red, black at its core. Wavy blackberry across the nose with a suggestion of beef stock notably, also mint. A profound bouquet of wide shoulders, a chunky affair that is sustained; it is a no chink in the fabric wine, all hands on deck, no moving. It ends completely, thoroughly. The finish is dark, the wine extremely tight. There is fantastic surging of flavour and nourishment. Will live very long. I prefer it to the 2010, but both are excellent. From 2016. 2040-44 Nov 2011 Previously March 2011 ***** (barrel, assembled, to be bottled next month, April 2011) very dark, rolling red-black colour. The nose expands across the glass, led by sweet-toned fruits with light, quality floral airs. There is an elegance above it, a very slight smoke, pipe tobacco note. Very juicy and giving debut, a really tasty start. From half way it becomes darker, though its tannins are very inbuilt, life and correct spine about them. The finish if varied, bringing forward herbal, tilleul (lime-linden), menthol notes. The finale is very full. From 2014. 14.1° or so. 2035-38, say. Doesn`t quite knock me out like the last separate variety tasting, but has been prepared for bottling,and is lying rather low. March 2011 Previously July 2010 ****** 5 of the core grapes, all currently being raised in large barrel: 1) Cinsault (70 yrs old, picked 3 Oct, 27 hl/ha yield, versus 33 hl/ha for the whole harvest) **** nice full red, more than usual; impressively ripe Cinsault on the nose, red jam, light pepper. Unusual ripeness and body – offers fine, elegant red fruit, has a round finish. Juicy, plenty here, more abundant than usual. Around 13.3°. 2) Counoise (25-30 yrs old, massale selection, picked 5 Oct) ****(*) dark robe, black tints. Has a good, creamy, intense nose with a biscuity backdrop. There is good purity of fruit on the palate, with inherent spice. Typical, has good length. Is full-bodied, but fresh. The fruit is fine, intense. Very long, with tannin and licorice in the later stages that resembles Mourvèdre. 18-20 yrs. 3) Grenache (60 yrs) ****** very dark red; sweet, slightly lactic note on the nose – the main fruit aroma is raspberry, also liqueur in style – this is ample and broad. The palate is graceful, very beau, takes on an iodine nature. Compelling, smooth texture with a solid tannin finale – the tannins are rich, and lie inside, integrate well. Lovely front palate juice. Great stuff, is very persistent. 22-24 yrs. 4) Syrah (50 yrs) ****** dark, vigorous robe; crunchy black fruit air, cassis with licorice – is deep, has a Hermitage nature both on nose and palate. Prominent black fruit leads the palate, has a generous heart but also very definite tannic drive right to the end. Is rather L`Hermite in nature. What a lot here, I rate the wines so far above 2007, have a welcome freedom about them. 26 yrs. 5) Mourvèdre (60-70 yrs) ***** full robe; chunky, typically wide nose, dark black berry and chocolate in the air. The palate is sealed up, its content big – there is a march of evident tannin on the finish, the tannins forceful. Is the number 8 in the scrum, the Big Fella. Long and persistent. 26 yrs. OVERALL ****** each variety is very full, but each one`s character comes across, despite the great ripeness. A blend of these 5, done on the spot: very thorough, dark red. Wide, bountiful aroma – black liqueur fruit with space, air at the top, is wide and persistent. Fine fruit that is nuanced and engaging on the palate – plum fruit the first sensation, but is varied. Finishes calmly, with poise. This is a Great Vintage – a real fruit-filled, fleshy winner with excellent structure, bone, authority. One of the best wines I have had here. One could gorge on the young fruit, but that would represent unfinished business, so from 2016-17 also. Assembled, it can live for 35 years, say to 2045. “I am content because it is a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but is well-defined, not all over the place. I compare this rather to 2005, which was also ripe and elegant, but is very closed and severe now,” François Perrin. July 2010

2008

plum colour with a little ruby in it. The bouquet has moved into the second phase, has airs of spice, clove, cinnamon along with plum – it holds together in that vein. The palate is overtly spiced – this is fresh wine with a middling gras richness. It ends on darker, more tannic notes, grip. There is a flavour of crushed plum in a gritty exit. Perhaps it will round our with another winter. It is dark, tarry, assertive on the finish. 14.5°. 2023-24  Apr 2015 Previously June 2010 ***(*) half the crop this year, this bottled 1 month ago. Steady red robe, with nice and not overdone depth. Quietly poised but live bouquet – a point shape of dark fruit leads it, brings in a little bacon, grilled and also vanilla notes. Plucky red fruits show on the palate – there is energy in them, but they are not big and obvious. The fruit's brightness is aided by a little Mourvèdre that comes through on the finish, and adds structure and sides to the wine. This a precise, Nordic style wine. The fruit length is sound. “It is possible to compare this to 2006, 2004 or going further back, 1980,” François Perrin. 2025-27 June 2010

2007

level red with purple tints. Smoky, grainy, intense nose, which also summons rubbed stones, herbs, licorice and a smoke-pine air. The attack is still “on the steel” – it grips tightly, has definite freshness, and amplifies towards the finish. It is robust, but there is a great run of active, “sparkly” fruit all the way through. Crisp, good wine of real potential. The aftertaste lasts well. It is going well: it ends on precise, clear, tasty notes, has aromatic length. Very good with Patagonian tooth fish – yes, fish, even with all its power – the point being, it is clear-cut, which much widens its food appeal. 14.5°. 2034-37 May 2011, Maldives Previously June 2010 ****** the robe is a bit darker than the 2006, and also bright. Very wide, full up bouquet – a real wall meets the drinker in this solid and prominent start. The palate is also very full and compact – there is bountiful matter here, a seamless make-up. It runs steadily through the palate without skipping a single beat. Big matter, big wine with a jam, fruit compote nature. Ends solidly with tannins inside it. Not yet nuanced – wait until 2014-15 for more interest and variety. It is a thorough packet of red fruit, prune, even date and fig or fig jam at the end. “It was very juicy at first,” François Perrin. 2034-38 June 2010 Previously Nov 2008 ***** (pre-assemblage, 50% of the final wine) full, dark red, purple colour. This part`s bouquet is wide and nearly imposing; it holds violet, briar, menthol and prune aromas – plenty to think about, with an under curve of black pepper – the Grenache portion is ripe here. The palate fruit is clear-cut – thus, a good sign for its class and longevity. The black fruits reflect Grenache, and are then followed by a nutty, solidly muscled couch from the non-Grenache vines. Has lots of flavour, juice and potential poise. I like the line of tannin through it – it is a well structured, purposeful wine with bags of richness that is well measured alongside the “dark” elements. Herbs are in this, too – my foot is starting to agitate as I taste. A long wine, with lovely tannin and luxury fruit. Can be 6 stars once bottled if the final wine is like this. Will be around 15°.. From 2012. 2036-40.

2006 ()

pretty red colour, bright plum. This shows a softly herbal air, very much on the garrigue, so fennel, Provence in the glass, is present, the bouquet curved. The 2007 is more direct. The palate also has a soft, plump middle – the word “gras” is very much in play here – a wine that is founded on steady, well-set richness. There are smoky, cedar, flinty late moments, the breadth is attractive. I find some Mourvèdre-Syrah darkness in it. The length is savoury, the gras is running freely. Less “serious” and multi-layered than the 2007, and will not run as far as that, either. The aftertaste is minty, chalky. This is a juicy, willing wine that is great with lamb – fat enough for that, for instance. It is very ensemble, and shows richly with hand line caught local yellow fin tuna – this brings out elegant length. 14.5°. “This needed a high sorting of the grapes, while the Indian summer helped the Mourvèdre. It is an elegant wine, less rich and tannic than the 2007,” Pierre Perrin. 2027-30 May 2011, Maldives Previously June 2010 ****(*) good full robe, with some black tints. Stylish, mulled black fruits aroma with prune, cigar influences that add interest, along with earthy airs, plum fruit: this airborne beside the grounded 2007. The palate is finely fruited, but just closing and tightening. Has a good, not overdone centre, a “dark” nature and rather steely tannins late on. Good, complex, nicely weighted wine. The finish is fine and pebbly. “I like its rigour – it is not a laughing wine, it is a bit rigid,” François Perrin. From spring 2012. 2028-20 June 2010 Previously Nov 2007 (approx final assemblage) ****(*) very intense, dark red robe, the colour all the way up; dense nose with reduction in it, there is black berry here, some oily notes, and a sappy richness evident. Bristling red berry fruits on the palate, with a mulled nature. From half way lengthens and extends well. Is abroad wine, laced with light pepper and cinnamon, even coffee notes. Ripe, almost gourmand, this is a texture wine. Length is good, shows late smokiness. 2026-28 Nov 2007

2005

nicely plum red, very little evolution showing. Herbs in the air, also violet, floral influences on the nose, which is welcoming, and has a smoky intensity right at its centre, a smoky licorice. After two hours, it gains a nature of primrose and finesse that are most attractive. The palate: tight lines here. The shape is rectangular, sleek and there are clean straight lines from its dark tannins. Very true to the vintage. Still careful, not greatly expressive, notably on the second half of the palate. Smoky, fine length that leads to a coffee-noted, crisp aftertaste. Long wine. Classical long-term Beaucastel, a delight for those who like proper tannins in their wines. 13.5°. 2034-37 May 2011, Maldives Previously Nov 2008 ***** raspberry red, with a subdued hue. Has a varnish, waxen, baked raisin cake aroma that is starting to close – carries baked stones, dried thyme herbs, but there is space in the bouquet – it is not oppressive. There are close sides on it now, as it tightens. The palate is muscled, and is noticeably starting to close down – there is red berry or cherry within. Tannins run around its pebbly end. The fruit inside is fresh and directed. Revert in 2012 – there is no hurry for this structured, clear wine that has a wiry muscle about it. Even though it is closing right down, it still persists and its red fruit carries on – good signs. 2031-35 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ***** full red, dark raspberry robe; more reserved bouquet than the 2006, carrying red fruits with some dust and tannin in it, and also a nuttiness and golden raisin air. At a quiet stage now. The palate comes in a similar shape to the bouquet: is reserved, fenced in, but there is a good core of elements here that are in great harmony with one another. Extends very well through the palate. Has the discretion of the best vintages, is not showy. There is really good black fruit in this, and good acidity for the future. Ends a little perfumato, is very bonny and interesting all through. 2034-38 Bottled Jan 2007, tasted Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 ****** dark robe; black jam, sweet and intense but elegant bouquet that is really classy and graceful. Extremely elegant texture: the first impression is its silky roundness. Black fruits, cherries, olives mix in to bring a southern completeness. The length is good and clear, the freshness is evident. Shapely wine with a seamless texture. Lovely red berry fruit on the aftertaste. Great balance, and a Grand Year. From 2008 for its juicy, delicious fruit, but that is not playing the game vis-à-vis its ageing and complexity potential. 2031-35 Dec 2006 Previously Nov 2006, London ****** (assemblage example) full, dark red; lively, really prominent, classy red fruits aroma – the bouquet is broad and well woven. There is a rich palate here, the texture is supple, and the tannins accompany in great harmony. Good length, a lot of flow in the wine. Above all, this is balanced, has great quality. People may underestimate its power, so balanced is it. Very long. Grand Vin. 2028-31 Nov 2006, London

2004

largely dark red robe, with a little lightening in it. Grainy, dark red fruits aroma, with licorice, pepper and spice in it, spiced cherry. Is upright rather than wide. It can be very expressive and red fruited around 2011. On the palate there are red fruits with a thread of tannic acidity within.: is more a gentle vintage with quite expression, rather like 1986 with more souplesse. Late bit of jam, a touch of richness. Is a mineral Beaucastel vintage this year. Will drink especially well around 2012-15. I like its quiet richness and oil on the end. 2023-25 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 **** quite a full cherry, bright robe; well modeled, touch grainy nose, with an assortment of nuts, vanilla pods and black fruits. Accessible, rounded berry fruit leads the palate, and there is no excess of heat at all that can be found in some 2004s. Has a pebbly, clear finish. It is backward now, and its fruit is measured, not ebullient. From 2008-09. 2025-27 Dec 2006 Previously March 2005 components: example of Syrah: clear lines to the aroma, blackberry fruit, refined palate, no great brio. example of Grenache: really deep bouquet. Great ripeness in the fruit, and also fresh on finish, this is harmonious. Good. Will form a strong fundamental element in the wine. example of Mourvèdre: broad bouquet. Good length, clear-cut fruit. Malo simmering here. OVERALL ****: from these three varieties, looks like a good year, 4 star, life of 20-25 years. Very good Grenache core available. March 2005

2003

2 bottles tasted, and bottle variation comes through in this daunting vintage, which is ageing. Bottle 1: No Rating - ruby, tiled robe, quite rich in aspect. The nose is hang-dog, dusty, shows plum jam, damson, bosky and tobacco, menthol, black raisin airs. The palate is “muddy”, not 100% clean, and dries towards the finish. It struggles along the palate, the fruit squeezed. Not impressive. Bottle 2, just opened: red-ruby robe. There are some game, red cherry, licorice, high and also smoky tobacco airs – an interesting mix of aromas, is varied. The palate red fruit is consistent, tightly packed. It is very southern in form – it suggests tightly clustered, small red fruits and has rosemary, coffee note after half way. I am encouraged by its fresh, clear finish – there is a smoky, pumice stone, flint-like length. “Terroir is now getting past the vintage influence,” Marc Perrin. 13.5°. 2022-24  Oct 2012  Previously May 2011 ****(*) magnum: red with mottled tints in it. Has a Wide Frontier nose, something of the game and very earthy nature, with floral top relief. There are “dark” Mourvèdre moments. Its funky side will hit the mark for some, is a one-off. Juicy, black fruits debut to the palate, with still grainy tannins on its sides. One can see it has come from a strong heat origin with its degree of dustiness and baking on its final stages. The gras is edging along the palate, towards the finish, as it ages. Has a flinty, almost graphite aftertaste, but that has a rose-hip companion in it – an unusual and compelling combination. Indeed, it is a wide horizon wine . . Food matching a challenge for it because of the baked areas at the end. Possibly beef à la daube, stew. A wine of character. 13.5°. “We started to harvest the Syrah and Grenache on 23 August. There were two halves to the vintage – before the rain and after. Before the rain, the alcohol was growing, there was a loss of water in the grapes. After the rain, the berries became fatter. So we changed from short fermentations to avoid extracting dry tannins before, to long macerations after the rain,” Pierre Perrin. 2030-33 Maldives, May 2011 Previously June 2006 ****(*) inky, solid robe. The bouquet shows brambly fruit, with a petrol side, also pine – there is a lot of variety and a challenging display of aromas, like Star Wars the aromas come from all directions. There is some pastille flavour on the palate – black, quite savoury fruits that are really compact and flowing, easy to drink. Lots of content here – the fruit prune, damson, and from mid-palate I detect a Grenache influence. This will please people. 2022-25 June 2006 “The nearest I can cite to this style of vintage is 1976 – which was also very beau at the start of its life,” François Perrin. June 2006 Previously March 2005 **** generous, ample, ripe bouquet, wee bit oxidative, black fruit syrup aroma, truffly, and meaty. Ripe black berries impact on attack, then tightens - mixes leather, prune, plum. Voluminous, beaucoup de vin. Corpulent from the vintage, its nature is one of extreme ripeness. Gourmand wine. Esp 2008/09 on. 2022-24. "We only ran a 6 day vatting instead of the usual 2 weeks to extract the tannins and avoid any dryness in them." F Perrin. March 2005, assembled, for bottling April 2005

2002 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED - a lot of coulure and rain

2001

ruby colour, red in the second tier. This has a wide running bouquet, gives good action, a stone fruit depth, black raisin and chocolate – it is both firm and broad. The palate has an imprint of game, notes of coffee and mocha, pebbly moments. It is at its middle age moment now, a bit undecided. It is taking the grainy-cedary route of a fresh rather than a very sunny vintage. It has the stamp of Mourvèdre, openly so, and gives licorice and pepper on the exit, a wee note of dryness. From mid-2015, when I expect it to be clearer and more definite. Decant it. 13.5°. 2030-32  Nov 2013  Previously May 2011 **** 2 bottles, the second better. Bottle 2: **** this shows clearer, dark fruit, has more travel in it, crisp blackberry. It is close-knit on the palate, and it finishes on a more floral note, still fresh and young, touches of licorice. This has more carry on the finish, is **** 2027-29 Bottle 1 *** plum red core to the robe, wee ruby at the top. Date, Christmastime aroma that is all round and self-contained, black raisin, a little earthiness, flintstone. The palate is mature, entering its second stage. I am not sure how clean this bottle is – it has prune and dark fruit preceding cigar notes, a wine to drink in the autumn with birds. It lacks the crisp polish of 2007 and 2006, and there are notes of Brett in it. There is light late gras in it. Decant this. 13.5°. “Balanced, good ripening this year. It showed a very Grenache style when it was young – juicy, red fruit, black fruit, then it rather fell down and went into this quiet phase,” Pierre Perrin. May 2011, Maldives Previously Nov 2007 ***** bright and live dark red robe; has a bonny, mild, honey-toned nose with interesting caramel in it, and lightly mulled, ripe red fruits – the aroma continues well and persists, with some sideways movement. There is a little rounded yeast, also. The palate holds red, plum fruit of good heart, which is at a very enticing stage now. There is live, tannic content here, with a more oily texture than is usual for a Beaucastel. Ends roundly and widely, although the fruit withdraws a little. Generally good length here. It is about to enter a quiet phase, and reveals some late raisin, plum and spice. Decant if drinking now to 2010-11, and choose a high pressure day. Tasted blind. Once revealed, a note of change in the vinification compared to the 1980s with their brisk acidity comes through via its more supple texture. 2026-29 Nov 2007, Hong Kong Previously March 2005 ***** a touch of meat, game, the bouquet is full, also shows violet, berry jam, damp soil. There is a harmonious attack, round and fleshy, surprisingly very open now, delicious, plenty of appeal. Tannins peek through right at the end. Heading for a closed stage. Esp from 2008/09. 2023-27. "So far it has always been rich and elegant, rather like the young 2004" F Perrin. March 2005

2000

earthy, game aroma, red fruits, leather, pepper - quite open. Palate shows olives, southern touches, then becomes more mineral and gamey, very Beaucastel after half way. Fruit gooseberry, bilberry, quite tart in a way. Not for the casual drinker right now, has a pesky side that would turn on the regular followers, though, because it is drying and becoming mineral. Has character. 2022-24. "It showed fruit all the way until November 2004, and then the winter changed it. Now it is getting the true Beaucastel character." F Perrin. March 2005 They started to pick 10-12 Sept, then re-started after rain on 18 Sept. 27 hl/ha Previously Nov 2002 **** pretty, bright robe; ripe red fruits that are round and stylish in the aroma – with the suggestion of some mystery behind, some hidden extras to come. The palate is full and quite sappy, but the attack texture is clean. It gradually tightens up towards the finish in a pleasing way. A stylish wine that holds cards up its sleeve. I like the juice in its fruit. 2017-19 Nov 2002, Paris Previously May 2002 (pre-bottle) **** decent dark red robe; the nose is a little dusty, but quite suave overall – lacks some definition just this minute. There is really lovely juice on the palate. This is a very sensual, generous wine – the vintage suppleness comes through. Has nice tannins and late structure, with some ripe, almost jam like flavour. Delicious at this quaffing stage, and can run well over say 17-19 years. May 2002

1999

pretty, bright red, a British Post Office red at its heart. Has a honey, nutted aroma with a nice breadth oiliness in it, and a little black raisin, as if this came from a ripe year. The aroma moves securely, and has even a mild plumpness – which denotes the more recent style of Beaucastel here. Has a rich, tending towards the gourmand start to the palate, and once more a slightly oily texture comes through, though there is some good, little fresh acidity. It runs on well, with late plum notes and even strawberry, a most unusual Beaucastel fruit association, at the end. There is very good fruit quality here – it is oily, and red-toned. Tasted blind. 2021-24. On knowing its ID, it clearly possesses the fresh quality of this underrated vintage. Nov 2007, Hong Kong Previously October 2005, Copenhagen ****(*) dark, racy bouquet, shows a sharp pierce of berry fruit, chocolate, some spirit also. Leather, floral hints as well, just entering the first stages of its fundamental phase, down home style. Rounded, really sustained palate, contains full and brewed berry fruit that persists, also has a taut side. Meaty finish, a punchy wine that can age well. 2023-26 October 2005, Copenhagen 26 hl/ha Previously May 2001 ***** (final assemblage) elegant, warm jam aroma, with hints of game, with some leathery style trimmings: an interesting bouquet. Black fruits with olives in the flavour on the attack, then a quite early tannic appearance. Has sound length. Has a live final zone, where there the acidity is apparent, like all the 1999 Châteauneuf reds. Patience needed: leave till 2006-07 to settle. Has a mineral edge to it that renders it a little pesky right now. “1998 is more accessible, the 1999 has more acidity,” J-P Perrin. May 2001 Previously Nov 2000 (large barrel) ****(*) dark, purple-topped robe; ripe fruits aroma that is hidden today, suggests suave black fruits and is persistent. Smoothly textured palate, with good, persistent fruit. A wine that flourishes at the end, is overt with some spice and acidity moving it along. Very good length. Is violet-scented towards the finish. An elegant style of wine, perhaps a little mainstream?? 2017-20 Nov 2000 “It has always had this youthful character since the start,” F.Perrin

1998 ()

a magnum: mature robe, a plum colour, nice depth. The nose is centred on rather tight plum fruit, a note of leather and cinnamon. It has a mineral 1998 note. It is pretty much half way between youth and older age. I detect a wee note of Brett which is putting-off. The palate starts well, on a free run of red berry, mature berry fruit with floral traces in it. The texture slips along nicely, before a cluster of grainy, licorice-tanged tannins on the finish. The aftertaste is clear, has cut. Grounded, earthy notes circulate here. It won’t please the white coat drinkers (after 75 minutes), and after 90 minutes becomes leathery, Brett on top. 13.5°. July 2013, East Sussex Previously May 2011 ****** the robe is starting to turn to tile, though there is red at the centre. This has an impressive bouquet – it is curved, ripe, convex, has a pretty richness in it, some “floral farmyard” as well, a good combo. After two hours, there is a salty breeze – very good. The palate is serene – this is at a great moment, is tasty solo – an extremely good sign. Shows juicy late moments. Has a fine texture, a stately togetherness, fresh length. Super wine, singing well now – it is bright, generous, stylish. Really impressive – Grand Vin – it has reached that station after quite a long journey. In its early middle age. 13.5°. “This was an iconic Grenache year – we went up to 40%, and it was also the biggest crop since 1970. It isn`t a traditional Beaucastel, but it is a traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape,” Pierre Perrin. 2029-32 May 2011, Maldives Previously Nov 2007 ***** the robe still holds a good red core, and is very bright. Has a muted, even, very knit red fruit aroma, with a pretty bit of toffee, and a declaration of ripe fruit hanging in the air. Is promising, with red fruits offering potential for more variety. There is a good, tight attack, a real intense weave on this. The flavour comes in a soaked red cherry style with abundant richness inset. It is reaching a measured stage, but is wholesome and still primary. The red fruit softens up towards the finish. Given its abundant energy, it can move along and evolve very well. There is a little late heat. As the air enters it, it loses some of its acidity, and takes on a more soft and sweet nature. 2024-26. Tasted blind. Again, a supple, oily texture and fruit notes such as soaked red cherry denote the shift of style from the later 1990s here. Nov 2007, Hong Kong Previously May 2001 ****** quite ripe fruit, some olives, leather and butterscotch, on a nose that is very solid, suggests very ripe Grenache. Densely, tightly packed palate that is really concentrated and again suggests ripe crop with a strong Grenache nature to it. Black fruits precede a licorice finish. Lots of really nice chewiness in the wine, this is a Big Wine. Is not a wine in the style of the fat south, is much more focused and compressed. This is the second bottle: the first showed drier end tannins. From 2008 will be in great shape. 2022-25 May 2001 Previously Nov 2000 ****** pretty black, purple robe; Big, complex bouquet that possesses tar and farmyard aspects, not one for the cleansing police. Prunes, and an aged Pinot Noir tone, also. The palate also possesses this extreme ripeness, is filled and a really big wine. Comes at you from all directions, drips with sap and oily extract: it saturates the mouth, indeed. Flavours are plums and prunes. Its spice side will rise with ageing. Just a little powdery on the finish. From 2006 2025-28 Nov 2000 “35 hl/ha, high for us. There were 2 to 3 weeks of very hot nights in July, in the high 20s. We picked the Syrah early for us, 5 September, but hesitated over the Grenache around the 13 September, since it was only 13 degrees then. We went back to it on 23 September, when it was in magnificent shape. The last Mourvèdre was picked around 13 October.” On this year’s young aromas, “with high pressure, the early farmyard aromas do not show, and there is more a taste of liquid jam such as raspberry”, F.Perrin Previously Oct 1998, all samples between 7 and 12 days' old: Grenache lot of black fruit and a big mass, loganberry flavour. Cinsault: red fruit, nervosité (wire). Syrah: cassis aroma, tightly wrapped fruit, lissom tannins. Old Syrah that has been cap punched (pigé): lot of depth on nose, good spread of content, final gentle chewiness. Good mass in this. “At this pre-malo stage, they show much promise,” F.Perrin Oct 1998

1997

measured ruby-garnet, middle robe plum colour. Airs of coffee beans and flowers traverse the nose that has a tar edge to it – it has character, appeal, style. The palate is also floral, with burnt-tar, acrid edges. It is marching on. It is tightly packed in its way, with raisin and chocolate-prune moments at the end. It develops a brewed density once it airs, showing all the mildness of 1997 – no sticking out tannins or acidity, the mild nights contributing to that shape. The finale is grainy, biscuity. It has gradually travelled past its summit. 13.5°. 2017-19  Sept 2013, East Sussex  Previously Feb 2009 *** the robe has tile colours – the mark of clear advance, and suggests now that it was never dark, is now a mottled red. The bouquet is floral, rose-scented, mildly fruited, and has a tang of leather and cinnamon spice. The attack on the palate is low-key, but there is dark fruit lying within that is more intense than anticipated. There is a line of tannin along it, and the length is agreeably sustained and persistent – indeed the length is impressive, a surprise after the low-key attack. Very attractive, right in its stride now. The flavour reminds me of Pez sweets. 2016-17 Feb 2009 Previously June 2007 *** marked garnet on the robe; the nose is peppery and roasted, with a little sweet tea, and is very much in transition. I would expect the air to tighten it up: in effect, the air means it regains its black berry jam air with a nut, pistachio tone. Then along comes a bundle of aromas: chocolate, raisin, tea, herbs. The palate has moved on from the jam flavour early stage, and is now on a more mineral track. There is surprising advance on this bottle. Cooked blackberries with a cool late note. Seems a bit unstable now, drunk on the night of a full moon. 2014-16 June 2007, Sussex Previously Aug 2006 *** ruby-grenat top to the robe, shows some advance. Bouquet carries honey, light fruit and pistachio nuts, and is not in the brooding vein of the big years. Velvety texture, round and supple palate with still some tension of youth in it. Soft red fruits here, pretty and scented. A harmonious drink now, I like the subtle red fruits with their floral lacing. 2014-16 Aug 2006 Previously Oct 2005 **(*) mottling red-plum colour. Has a round, prominent jam style aroma, and undertone that is musky and quite primeval or earthy. There is plenty going on with the air – it becomes tighter and more mineral. Has an attractive, tasty red berry flavour, with spice incursions. Is fat, nicely sweet and good to drink solo – most unlike a Beaucastel, that always requires food. The length is quite good, although it dips a little before showing some red fruit at the very end. A tasty meatball of a wine, with hidden touches also supplied. 2013-16 Oct 2005 Previously April 1999 *** decent red colour; a mix of violets and pebbles on the nose, quietly fruited it is. The palate’s black fruit is mid-weight, not too prolonged, but can become round and expressive once its first tannins have melded. . The length is not too bad and perhaps there is more than is showing today: this was bottled just four days ago. Drink from around 2001-02. 2012-15 April 1999 “I compare this to 1980,” F.Perrin

1996 ()

middling red colour; ripe fruit aroma that is a bit “high”, almost red meat, farmyard and would be a possible Brettanomyces indicator. This is an upright year on the palate. It misses a skip of flesh on the mid-palate, and is military in style. The fruit is rather dry and peppery, the tannins are not very fat. There is a chewy finish. Will settle its rawness with age, but not necessarily comfortably. Not a top vintage, nor one that is easy to define. 2013-15 “It is a little Nordic,” F.Perrin.

1995

1 of the 2 bottles suggests cork. The robe has reached a plum-red stage. The nose is a little pointed, as if this is from a less ripe, more austere vintage; there is plenty of space and air in the bouquet, and with breathing, a crisp, vegetal note emerges. There is some red plum jam in a low key expression today. The palate is very well-knit, and there is a lot of wine here. It has good, fresh uplift with sound matter. Beyond the early fruit, plenty of tannic exuberance comes out, completing a good length on the palate. This is another Beaucastel delivered in what I term a more Bordeaux style, a wine that lives on its reserve. There is sound late richness, and pretty late fruit. The texture is still grainy. From 2009 for its real flourishing. Tasted blind. No surprise to find this is a 1995 – a vintage that was tannic from the dry year, and needed patience. 2023-26. Nov 2007, Hong Kong Previously April 1999 ***** well-sustained robe. Good, wide bouquet, with plenty of content: a touch of game, berry fruit and red meat. The palate is densely packed, and is still very young. It seems to be just closing up shop now for a while. Full, black fruit and meatiness on the finish. The tannins are pretty well enveloped, and give a light tar effect. Firm wine, but it has the matter to go places. From 2002 or so. 2019-23 April 1999 Previously Oct 1996 ****(*) (all the large barrels mixed) dark, purple-tinted robe. There is a lot on the nose – it is warm, in contrast to 1994, and after year along the lines of 1990, with dark fruits solidly present. The attack mixes discretion with a fullness that is well sustained. Both mid-palate and finish are agreeable. While full, this is capable of complexity over time. It has scale, but also core matter all through, until a clean finish. Good life ahead. It is good, but I sense somewhat “safer” than the Beaucastels of the past, such as the 1980s and the 1990. To be bottled March 1997, which means a shorter raising than the 1994 which was bottled Aug 1996. 2018-21  Oct 1996

1994 ()

pale, still elegant red robe with ruby towards the top. This has a really fine and elegant red fruit jam aroma, with a nutty, slightly yeasty backdrop, an air of rubbed hot pebbles. It gains weight as it breathes, and that brings in prune and rich blackberry jam into play. This soft wine, with the grain of its vintage running through it, before it ends on a lightly minted, fresh notes. It is a fine and shapely wine, at a really good maturity now. I give it big marks for finesse. The finale shows herns, white pepper, is a little dry. After 90 minutes: it is richer and sweeter than at first, is unfurling well. Strictly speaking, I find a bit of Brett in this, but that doesn’t put me off. 13.5°. 2017-19  June 2011, East Sussex Previously Nov 2007 ***(*) pretty, soft red with a ruby top line. Has a really bonny, fragrant nose – black coffee, raisin, a little Christmas cake, and lurking red fruit. There is quietly sustained breadth to it. The palate is a measured, mid-weight affair, with great elegance of red fruit. It is still squeezy in texture, until some late tightening. Has a good finale, where it remains gently broad and stylish. Tasted blind. Has come good, as I hoped it would. 2016-18 Nov 2007, Hong Kong Previously Aug 2005 *** the robe is a dull plum, and is advancing. The bouquet has a spicy top note, with a black jam underlay – is smoky and bosky. The first impact is that of jam fruit. Its warmth intensifies with a few minutes` air. The palate has a dusky flavour, with the bosky side governing it, although a seam of cooked fruit appears towards the later stages. Is a tangy and tarry wine, with an interesting smoky licorice effect on the finish. A wine of some character, that has developed and varied with its ageing. This is a Bordeaux-style Châteauneuf-du-Pape - upright and quite complex. Does not at all possess the round sweetness of the Grenache, and comes in a category of its own. Very sound length, and very simpatico now. 2013-15 Aug 2005 Previously Nov 2002 ***(*) ruby notes in an advancing colour. There are definite game airs on the bouquet, that has evolved more than I would expect. The palate is also on the move, and has a grainy, rather mineral composition. This is ideal autumn drinking wine, and while it is a mineral style vintage, there is still some sweetness in it. The length is fair, not more. 2010-12 on this showing. Nov 2002, Paris Previously April 1999 ***(*) mid-plus red; bouquet reflects fungal, animal notes, some plum, is round and assured, pretty good. Quite an upright wine on the palate, but with character and density. Is dry-toned to some extent, but pretty thorough. Holds a good Mourvèdre finish that helps its overall appeal. I like this. From 2000. 2015-17 April 1999 Previously Oct 1996 **** nice, quite dark colour; hints of licorice on the nose, quiet warmth within, a bouquet that is still within itself, has dark spice and leather notes waiting to come forward. The palate is medium-plus in weight, runs more on a firm elegance than power. The length is good, and not very strong tannins are present on the finish. The Mourvèdre influence is marked on this – the firmness. It needs time to move beyond its bottling influence. “It was a rainy, not especially hot year, similar to 1996,” F. Perrin  2014-16  Oct 1996

1993

the colour shows advance, with some ruby. Nice variety on the nose, with hints of damp woods (sous-bois) and leather. The palate is at a stage of comfortable roundness, with mid-weight content. Some final chewiness, but it is drying there. The tannins appear to have the upper hand here, and I am not sure how much arrangement can be achieved. 2007-09 “Its character is that of a cold year, with the leather tones on the nose, for instance,” F.Perrin April 1999

1992

red robe is a bit transparent now; the bouquet is quite soft, and brings out mint, tobacco, mown grass: certainly an easier aroma than the 1993 just tasted. The palate fruits are open, and the wine has an approachable flavour. Soft fruits such as prune are to the fore. An ideal restaurant wine that is singing now, is broad and easy to drink. The length is fair. 2006-09 April 1999

1990

attractive ruby red. Has a wide travelling nose, lots of red, plum fruit led by Grenache, with smoky notes from the other varieties. There is a true sunny maturity here – “spherique” or spherical is the word. Baked plains garrigue is present – lavender, also leather, some farmyard. Fine red fruit leads the palate, and there is a gras that ripples along and extends well – it is supple and shows really good roundness on the finish. Its clear, smoky-leather, aftertaste is also an attribute, too. Very complete wine, so well balanced that it drinks well solo. The finish is light touch, floating. After three hours, it becomes more grounded, shows a sweaty leather angle. I am giving its maturity the benefit of doubt, but it will certainly be thoroughly drinkable with fine foods, not big game dishes and flavours, until 2010. 13.5°. 2026-29 Oct 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ****** red tints in the ruby robe. Holds warm, soft red fruits aromas that travel sideways with assurance and are still compact: is at an interesting, end of primary stage juncture, that evokes the smooth warmth of early summer`s days. There is a thread of spice in the red fruits, and later come licorice and pepper. This is warm and rich wine, with a late kick of attitude. It is still young, its length is good, and it is in prime form now. To think it was very curly and seemed to be receding around 2003. Tasted blind. 2021-24 Nov 2007, Hong Kong Previously Nov 2006, London ***** red with a tiled top; ripe, very gourmand nose, shows red stone fruits, a little trace of herbs – is singing merrily away. Red fruits start the palate, with great finesse and soft charm. Still young, has regained its poise after a gritty mineral phase three years or so ago. Is back together now. Notably fine, rounded and shapely. 2021-23 Nov 2006, London

1989

red and ruby mix in a bright robe; the bouquet is fresh and bouncy – shows cinnamon, mild spices, mature plum, with a little menthol and a wee snapcrackle of pepper. The palate is still enclosed by some lithe, live but now yielding tannins. It is still a wine from the military academy, carrying the upright shape of the vintage. It grows a little in emphasis, and acquires a concentrated burst late on, as it moves actively along both sideways and forward. There is a lot of life on the palate, and plenty of future here. Tasted blind. Once ID known, this does not surprise me – the 1989 has always been the wild child against the more padded shoulder 1990, but the depth has certainly been sufficient to take care of its vigorous tannins. 2019-22 Nov 2007, Hong Kong Previously Oct 2002 **** deep, dark red-black robe; really, broad, sappy, impressive big bouquet – loganberries lead the way. Has a good coating – smoky and raspberry fruit also. The air tightens and evolves it towards fungal, animal airs and a red mineral top note. Shows violets the next day. Has a wholesome, full palate, filled with brambly fruit, jam in it, and still a wine on its “mature youth”. The tannins are lending an acidity support, and are in some ways nervous still, live. Is a big, soaking wine, with raspberries returning on the aftertaste, and a sinewed, red berry texture late in the day. Is quite long. 2013-14 Oct 2002, Sussex Previously May 2002 **** lightish top edge to the robe, but there is a still full dark red colour at its heart. The bouquet is very varied, and has an air of dampness in it – no animal, some alcohol. There is a wide aroma of heat, violet, brewed and smoky fruit, with polished leather. After 90+ minutes, the alcohol emerges more (although I suspect is 13.5°or so, not above 14°). The palate is big and raunchy – it is not like the modern Beaucastel of the last five years from the second half of the 1990s onwards. Is a charged wine, with a dry tone, the residue of its many tannins. It doesn't taste much of Grenache – shows the more smoked, near-burnt aspects of the Mourvèdre and Syrah. Has some width on the finish, but needs more fat there now. This is quite a wild ride, and as I near the bottom of the bottle, the finish becomes more long-lasting and broad. It could have a further moment of roundness before it dips away. 2014-16 May 2002, Sussex

1988 ()

two Jereboams to celebrate my son Edward's 30 birthday, served on 22 September, 2018, 30 years to the day: robe has a little garnet, but a ruby-red heart, both in good shape, levels in the bottles both high. The bouquet is graceful, mixes dots of cedar with musky flowers, tender red stone fruits, spices. The palate is quietly giving all through, flows with kind waves of red fruits, a nudge of grain tannin alongside. The fusion over the thirty years is fantastic here, considering that this started as a vintage with noticeable tannins derived from the dry conditions. The length is absolutely on the mark, never a false step. These are in primo, impressive condition, and I have kept two back for his 40th! The merit of this large format is amply shown here; a bottle would be tired alongside. 2034-36 Sept 2018 Previously Oct 1996 **** red robe, no turn in it, is a consistent, fairly dark red with legs down the glass. There is a hint, not prominent yet, of mineral on the nose which is subdued, closed up – some light red fruit features, and the air encourages that. The palate has a good, dark fruit flavour, a nice style: it is not at all a Grenache-marked vintage, is more on sleek lines with a firm underlay – that probably due to the dry summer. There is a good strain of fruit in mid-palate before it becomes firmer, nicely weighted. Still restrained wine, with good elegance. 2017-20 Oct 1996

1986

soft, fleeting red colour as it matures. The first hit on the nose after opening is honey-caramel. Has the underlay of a fungal-pebbly vintage when the ripening has not been easy or complete. After 75 minutes, the bouquet is more tarry, and after 165 minutes it shows baked chocolate. After that, it was all gone – adiós, amigo. The palate is soft, at a well-matured state, and a little past its peak on first inspection. It has gone to a sweet claret form – the nose showing more variety than the palate, which bears supple spiced red jam. As it airs and breathes, the fruits turn towards black berries, raisins and spices also, with tar and cinnamon. This could only come from a dry, less fully ripe vintage. It is nice and mild now, but its powers on this showing are waning. To 2010, for instance, but a magnum would still be rolling along well until 2015, I suggest. Dec 2005 Previously Oct 1998 ***(*) some advance in the robe to ruby, but the depth is decent. The bouquet is gamey and full-steam ahead: hung red meat, dry cedar, nice alcohol heat – it is potent, and resembles a marinade of a daube of beef with oiliness and “high” airs. The palate texture is firm, upright – this demands drinking with food such as game – it is not a giving wine. The attack is fruited, with a dense little roundness, then it becomes chewy, a touch lean, its dark flavours having some dryness attached. Interesting wine, not an open book. The length is pretty good. It will not necessarily soften, but can show a bit more. Coffee notes occur on the finish. 2009-11 Oct 1998 “1986 was always big on the nose – lots of herbs and garrigue,” Jean-Pierre Perrin. Oct 1998 Previously Oct 1996 *** good, dense colour that is thorough, just a bit of top ruby evident. The nose shows some turn, the fruit led by prune, plum, warm mineral, has some fullness there. This is a sinewed wine, but has quite body with it. Its definition is not obvious, though there is decent weight in it. The finish is dry, slightly peppered. The wine will not “blossom”, but will give quiet upright style satisfaction, more Bordeaux than Rhône this year. 2011-15  Oct 1996

1985 ()

mature, but warm and rounded bouquet. Suggests plum fruit, honey, a little vanilla and licorice. Is pretty, true and very representative of the vintage. The palate is more lean than the nose. The fruit is elegant, in a stone fruit style, the grip is fine. Is singing a mature tune now. Still has some quiet probity and clear fruit. Length is OK. 2015-18 Jan 2006, Hong Kong

1983

sound ruby robe; the nose bears a little coffee, with a quiet breadth of ripeness, spiced black jam here: the aroma sustains well. The palate has mellowed early on, and is followed by light spice and a red jam, quince flavouring, with a honey infusion. Has a good, measured round finish – it is now at a mature, harmonious stage. There are some indications of its youth via its grip and some pepper-tannic briskness. This is in good shape. Tasted blind. 2016-19 Nov 2007, Hong Kong Previously Oct 1998 ***** coulure on the Grenache this year, so more Syrah and Mourvèdre than usual. The robe shows ruby and advance. The nose is nicely tight – there is some dark fruit, a bosky influence, also a hint of coffee. It is dumb at present, and will loosen with breathing. Bordeaux-style upright shape to the palate on the attack: has a good lip-smacking, chewy texture, and there is more red fruit present than in the 1986 tasted just before. This is nicely integrated and doing well. “It used to be rather green coffee-like, and we weren't sure about it, but on this showing it is doing well, “ Jean-Pierre Perrin. I find this excellent. It is square-jawed, but good, and has the potential to refine over another five+ years. 2007-10 Oct 1998

1981

the robe is red – indeed, it could be from the 1990s. Has a red plum aroma, with a subtle, cool and damp underlay – cinnamon, licorice and raisin float in it, also Dundee cake and herbs traverse the glass – the bouquet is prolonged and intense. The palate has recently regained a silky elegance – it is now serene, very softly and smoothly textured, and the only moment of pause in that sequence is the final grip, a tannic enclosure, just a snap of that. It tapers a little late on, then regains its width; there is still some tannic intensity. The red fruit keeps ticking along after three hours' open – this is very beau, very fine wine – younger than it tasted in Hong Kong two years ago. 2019-21 June 2009, England Previously Nov 2007 ***** holds a still good, quite full ruby colour, with a pretty maturity about it. The bouquet is just emerging from a damp woods stage, and out float plum and light cinnamon aromas delivered in a pretty, wide and warm way. There is a speckle of spice and black peppercorns and some funky, downhome in the air. As it breathes, a bit of high tone creeps in. The palate still retains some meatiness, and juice in its red fruits. Good, pertinent acidity at the end makes it finish cleanly and beau. The length is good – this is very bonny wine. On the finish it is broad, and cinnamon-flecked, but is not yet at the coffee, drier stage. Has balance and complexity, and with its local character and grass roots appeal, and some technical defects, it brings to mind a meeting with a rough type in an alley way, who hasn't washed for a few days, but who then greets you in Latin. Salve, indeed! This remains a famous Beaucastel, from awkward, prickly youth onwards. Tasted blind. 2016-18 Nov 2007, Hong Kong Previously Oct 1996 at Beaucastel ****(*) some ruby lies beyond its red outer robe. Damp leaves, “rich” tea bags – the nose has gone beyond its game, animal stage, shows hints of chocolate. The palate has very good fullness, elegance – the tone has become slightly drier recently. The flavour revolves around prune, olives, low-key red fruits. It finishes drily and cleanly. It is just edging into mature areas now, more marked evolution coming through. 2009-13 Oct 1996

1980

ruby top to robe; mushroom, damp earth in the bouquet, classic old wine signals. There is an outbreak of red fruit on the attack, then it dries and moves a little narrowly. There is a good mix of dry-toned flavours. The attack is superior to the finish which is a little too pebbly and mineral. Ends on a dry note. “I have tasted better 1980s recently,” F.Perrin April 1999

1979

ruby with a brick top rim, fair depth in the robe. Gentle, savoury bouquet with traces of game, cedar, laurel herbs, red fruits, some sous-bois, damp forest or dead leaf. There is a lovely couch of flavour that is mature and aromatic on the palate. The length is still nice, offers a final point of sweetness in a prune jam flavour. This has great style and lingering quality, ends on dark flavours. “This was not a big vintage,” Jean-Pierre Perrin. 2010-12 Oct 1998

1978 ()

the robe is in good shape – shows a pretty full ruby tone. 1st bottle is corked. 2nd bottle: has a fungal, broad, rather high tone nose, varnish on the outside, but an intrinsically soft warmth and a little coffee. The palate`s red berries have a live skip to them: this comes from a ripe year (tasted blind) with still plenty of freshness in it. The length is good, refined, and even on a delicate path. This is a measured Châteauneuf, out of the general loop thanks to its Bordeaux-style refinement. 2017-20 Nov 2007, Hong Kong