2011 Château Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Reminiscent of a lighter weight 2009, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape offers up a sweet bouquet of spiced black cherries, plum, truffle, saddle leather and underbrush. Coming from tiny yields (which were down 50% from 2010), this medium to full-bodied 2011 is gorgeously textured and has solid mid-palate depth, terrific purity of fruit and ripe tannin. Relatively approachable and enjoyable even now, it should nevertheless evolve gracefully for 15-20 years. Drink 2015-2031. Covering a full 175 acres in Chateauneuf du Pape, with significant holdings throughout the Southern Rhone (mostly vinified at and released under their Famille Perrin brand), Chateau De Beaucastel is a benchmark estate that excels at all price points. Looking at the wines reviewed here, 2011 is surprisingly strong (especially for the Chateauneufs) and with their perfumed aromatics and supple textures, they show a lot of similarities to the 2009s. The 2012s as a whole show more freshness and purity, with good concentration, and should require more bottle age to come around. Both vintages are worth seeking out. Looking at the 2011s across the board, all of which were in bottle, it appears to be a strong vintage here. While the vintage suffered due to uneven ripening in the Grenache, it was actually a solid vintage for Mourvedre and this shows, particularly in the Chateauneufs.
Wine & Spirits
Although the hot spring and cool, wet July of 2011 made for some challenges (yields were down 50 percent from 2010), this is a lush and inviting vintage of Beaucastel. It stands out not only for the exuberance of its cassis flavor but its purity; if that flavor were a color, it'd be cadmium red. While it should hold well in the cellar for a few years, it is so appealing now it's hard to think of a reason to wait.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep ruby. Dark berries, dried cherry, anise and lavender on the highly perfumed nose. Offers intense cassis and bitter cherry flavors with sexy floral pastille and spicecake nuances. Aeration brings out a smoky quality that carries through the long, smooth, gently tannic finish. There's 40% mourvedre here but I wouldn't have guessed it based on this wine's forward, voluptuous character.
Subtle, layered flavours with some polished tannins. Lots of acidity. Very youthful. Tarry finish. Not much supple fruit. Demanding at this stage.