2009 Château Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival, Elsewhere $90)
One of the more endowed 2009s, this is packed with dark smoldering cocoa, mesquite, tobacco and roasted fig notes, all inlaid with pure cassis and plum preserves fruit flavors. Long and authoritative on the finish, with singed vanilla bean and tar notes adding length and dimension. Best from 2015 through 2026.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape is reminiscent of their brilliant 1985. It will be one of the rare Beaucastels that is drinkable upon release. Made from this estate’s classic blend, it possesses soft tannins as well as a silky, open-knit seductiveness, a dense plum/purple color and a beautiful perfume of smoky Provencal herbs intermixed with grilled steak juices, garrigue, kirsch and blue as well as black fruits. The wine is full-bodied, unctuously textured, and silky smooth (the latter characteristic being somewhat atypical for a young Beaucastel). If it performs like the 1985, it will drink well young and continue to do so for 25 or more years. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(30% each of grenache and mourvedre and 10% each of counoise and syrah, with the balance spread across the other nine permitted varieties): Bright ruby. Perfumed, expressive aromas of red and dark berry preserves, smoky herbs and lavender, with a touch of licorice adding depth. Fleshy and supple in texture, offering intense black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors lifted by a spicy quality. Shows the richness of the vintage but carries no excess fat. The finish lingers with impressive tenacity and echoes the floral and smoke notes.
This is not the bottled final blend but it's very close to it. 13 varieties including 30% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache and 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise, 5% Cinsault. Held back but there is so much waiting to escape. You can feel all those components coming together (I had just tasted the varieties Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Counoise and Cinsault as separate - non-commerical - bottlings). The brightness of the Grenache, that dry, firm framework and length from the Mourvèdre and the completeness of the blend. Dry, fresh, long and impressive in its embryonic state. Power and finesse. Great length. 18/20 points. (JH)