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2012 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge

Jeff Degner, CSW | Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a region with a long and complicated history.  It is located at the southern most point of the Rhone Valley of France and from 1309 to 1378 Catholic Popes called this region home.  Eventually, the Papacy returned to Vatican City but not before making its mark on France, especially in the wine industry.  There were 8 Popes during those 69 years, but it was Pope John XII who had the most impact.  He really loved the wines of this region and encouraged more vines to be planted.  The area eventually was renamed to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which translates to “The Pope’s New Castle”.

One of the things that makes this an ideal region for growing grapes is the soil.  There is a great combination of sand, limestone and clay that gives the grapes its nutrients, but it’s the rock and pebbles called galets that are the special ingredients.  These galets absorb heat throughout the day and then radiate that heat to the grapes during the cool nights so they continue to ripen.

Another unique factor about this region is that there are 13 grape varietals that are allowed to make up a Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  5 of these are white varietals.  I’ve listed the breakdown of the 2012 below and as you can see the 5 white varietals are listed in the 15% medley.

Château de Beaucastel is absolutely one of the legendary wineries in this region and has long been a favorite of mine.  I picked the 2012 to showcase how after 6 years the power and richness are still developing.  The wine is just starting to show the early stages of plum, figs, and stewed fruits, while also allowing the freshly picked lavender and sage to intertwine in the aromas.  An herb crusted leg of lamb on the grill would make a wonderful pairing.

If you order 6 bottles this will come in a classic wood box that is great for storing your wine!

Varietals:

Grenache : 30%
Mourvèdre : 30%
Counoise : 10%
Syrah : 10%
Cinsault : 5%

15% mix of:
Vaccarèse
Terret Noir
Muscardin
Clairette (White)
Picpoul (White)
Picardan (White)
Bourboulenc (White)
Roussanne (White)

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2012 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge

Country

France

Region

Rhone

Alcohol Percentage

14.5%

Aging Container

Oak Foudres for 12 months

Soil

Rolled pebbles on the surface, sand, clay and limestone deeper down

Service Temperature

63° F

Drinking Window

Now thru 2030

Pairing

Grilled Leg of Lamb

Fruit

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Body

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Earth

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Tannin

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Acid

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Critical Acclaim

Wine Advocate

96
What I think might end up being the best Beaucastel since the 1990 or 2001, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape offers a full-bodied, decadent style to go with awesome black and blue fruits, garrigue, licorice, crushed flowers and violets. The purity here is truly something, and it has fabulous mid-palate concentration, building tannin and massive texture. Given all of the fruit and texture here, it will no doubt drink well in its youth, but it should still be alive and kicking after two decades as well.

Wine Spectator

95

Warm raspberry and boysenberry confiture aromas and flavors are dominant in this lush, inviting style, but there’s plenty of dried star anise, bay leaf, licorice root, worn leather and roasted juniper notes to fill out the chorus. The finish turns youthfully grippy, with a tarry edge holding sway and adding serious length. Try now, but cellar for maximum effect. Best from 2018 through 2030.