CdP Question: Beaucastel Regular vs Hommage; Pegau Réservée vs Laurence vs Capo

An interesting question popped up in my recent TN post '98 Pegau Cuvee Laurence, '00 Peggau Reservee, '01 Clos des Papes - the next day - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers regarding Pegau Reservee versus Cuvée Laurence. The Laurence is a darker, bolder version of the wine. However, many people (including me) tend to prefer the regular cuvée. I’ll take it a bit further and extend it to my favorite CdP, Beaucastel. I’ve always liked the regular better than the Hommage of the same year.

In a very simplistic sense, I always find the regular cuvée more feminine and refined, and the prestige cuvée more black-fruited, beefy, and masculine. The da Capo is 'roids in a bottle.

I remember speaking to Marc Perrin at a seminar last year and he mentioned that the Mourvedre in the Hommage comes from their oldest vines and I believe he also said that percentage of that grape is also higher.

Can anyone lend more insight into these different cuvées?

I’m with you on generally preferring the regular cuvees over the tete du cuvees. Off the top of my head, the Hommage typically has a much higher mouvedre percentage, although the nomale is also higher than most CdPs.

The Lawrence is typically the same wine as the Reserve, but with extended barrel aging, and IMO should be consumed earlier than the Reserve, as it should get more oxidative exposure due to the barrel aging. While I have had the Capo on a few occasions, I’ve never tried to understand the differences to any real degree, as it is not my style of CdP.


First of all:

It might be my bad English, but WHAT is ´roids ?

Pegau (more correct: Pégaü):

The Cuvée Reservée initially was - in the 80ies - a selection of the best barrel(s) … the rest has been sold to negociants … like many producers did. Only in the 1990ies most of the production has been bottled at the domaine, so it´s now actually the basic wine.

Cuvée Laurence: Up to 1988 there is NO difference between the R. and the L. except the label. The L. label has been used for the bottles sold in the “Caveau” (the town shop), while the R. label is for the bottles shipped from the domaine …
YES, there are differences between certain bottling, some foudres have been kept (much) longer than others and bottled later, but that doesn´t mean that these later bottlings bear a Laurence-label.
So to pay more for a 1983/1985/1988 C.L. is not worth anything, a bottle with a C.R. label can actually taste like a C.L.

Cuvee Laurence from 1989 onwards (until 1995) is the same wine as C.R. - but bottled later, no selection in vineyard or cellar, just a traditional elevage with long cask aging. I also don´t agree that it turns out “darker” … IMHO the Reservée shows more dark fruits and berries when young, while the C.L. has more leather, more earth, seems to be closer to maturty, but also can have a certain “dryness” to it …

From 1998 onwards the best foudre has been used for the C.L., often aged in small (used) Burgundy barrels or demi-muids for a while, so it is actually kind of a selection with longer barrel aging and closer to maturity, the traditional CdP-style.

Da Capo: in 1994/95 Laurence bought a vineyard in the La Crau-section with very old vines. When I tasted it from cask I was so impressed that I told her not to let it disapear completely in the C.R., it would be a pity.
When she gave birth to her son Maxime in 1995 she later decided to keep one barrel and call it “Cuvée Maxime” (only 1995).
In 1997 she kept 2 barrels for her new born doughter → “Cuvée Justine”.
In 1998 no child was born, but the quality was so exceptional that she decided to make a special cuvée, and thought about calling it “Cuvée Da Capo” - referring to the slogan “CdP- the symphony of 13 varieties”, to be seen on a CdP-poster. She ask me what Da Capo in music exactly means.
Simply: “Again from the beginning” - I told her - and I proposed to compose a short piece of music that can be played over and over again from the beginning for a back label - similiar to Mouton with its paintings.
That´s how it turned out, the 1998 has my music on the back.
It is a special bottling from the oldest vines in La Crau, usually more Grenache, less Syrah and Mourvedre than the C.R.
So DC is simply the continuation of C.Maxime and C.Justine …

In 1998 Pegau had 3 cuvées - which Laurence thought is too much and confusing. So afterwards there is always a C.R. (in 2002 not all bottles have the C.R. designation) - but in addition only either a C.D. or a C.L. - not both.
In 2000 there were some 80+ bottles of a C.L. before she made the decision to cancel it - but they were not commercialized.

D.C. was produced in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007
C.Maxime in 1995, Cuvée Justine in 1997
C.Laurence (the REAL one!): 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1998,
(2000: less than 100 bottles), 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006.
No C.L. in 2008.

The “Hommage a Jacques Perrin” usually is a selection from the oldest vines and with a higher percentage of Mourvedre and Syrah than the regular cuvée. BUT it depends on the vintage: when the Mourvedre is not perfectly ripe the percentage can be less than usual.
Usually made in the good and great vintages, not in weak ones.

JP produced in 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007.

Hope it helps.

the Da Capo is the most traditional of CdP-styles, it´s a selection from the oldest vines and THE best foudre in the cellar.
In the decades up the 80ies domaines sold most of their crop to negociants and kept only the best patch for domaine bottling. This usually was from the oldes vines in the best vineyards, bottled after 2, 3, often 4+ years.
Take a Vieux Telegraph or Clos des Papes 1978 - and you have an idea how a DC might turn out with proper bottle age of 30+ years.

Gerhard, thanks for the incredibly informative posts. If only da Capo was priced like a traditional CdP! In that case, I might be able to have enough tasting experience with DC to think it was traditional.

BTW, 'roids refers to steroids, meaning over the top, or pumped up.


Thanks for the great post - I had no idea of your connection to the Pegau wines! You did forget one though - the cuvee inspiration in 2003 only sold in mags…


What a fantastic read!

Thank you for offering such a rich and vibrant history of the variant Pegau bottligns Gerhard. [cheers.gif]

Simply from an experiental standpoint, the Laurence’s foudre/barrel treatment lends itself to a more refined and less rustic profile. I tend to find more chocolate/mocha and blueberry notes as opposed to meat, boysenberry/bramble and garrigue on the reserve. The oldest Laurence I’ve had (I believe) is the 01 so I can’t comment as to how they continue to evolve through age.

In fact, I haven’t had Pegau older than 95; a shame as I think the likes of 98/01/04/05 and especially 07 will shine with extended age. For us American drinkers who have gained such reverance and love for Pegau, thanks to the efforts of Dan Kravitz and the gospel of internet forums, it is very difficult to find older vintage Pegau stateside, but in 5-10 years I think the discussion between Reserve/Laurence/Capo will change as time will illuminate the mysteries of projection.

You are absolutely right, I fortgot to mention the Cuvée Inspiration 2003, maybe because it´s the only one I have/had not in my cellar. [whistle.gif]
However I´ve tasted it at the domaine, and it is maybe a mixture between the DC and the CL-style, slightly closer to CL …

Yes indeed, the C.L. is usually more refined, less rustic and less primary indeed, closer to drinking maturity, but that doesn´t mean it won´t keep as long … however the fruit often goes a bit into the direction of leather, tobacco, mushrooms, underwood etc. instead of meat, black and blue berries and garrigue … it´s not necessarily “better”, but different and a matter of taste …
(however it´s double the price …).
It can have a certain element of “dryness” on the palate, but that´s not a sign of “too old” but characteristic of the style and decernable already right after bottling. Both cuvées will hold for decades in a good year.

indeed - and one of the more interesting wines from pegau.

the one and only time i visited, we were able to try the 2 barrels that ended up as Inspiration. one of the barrels was literally one of the finest wines i’ve ever tried – think Richebourg+ in weight and texture and the purest expression of grenache imaginable. the other barrel could not have been more different – extremely ripe, rich and porty. i begged laurence to bottle them separately, but they were blended. i never got a chance to try the finished wine, but we did a 50/50 mix on the spot in the cellar and i remember liking it, but still preferring the first barrel on its own.

Regarding predecessor to Da Capo, i don’t know if the wine making was different or if it’s based on vintage variations, but the 1997 Justine is much more elegant and refined than all the Da Capos i’ve tried. I’ve never had the Maxime.

I don’t have equal experience with both, but i tend to prefer the CR to the CL.

on the same trip, we went to Beaucastel and tried multiple vintages of the normal CdP and Hommage. To me, they are qualitatively equal – and generally amazing wines that evolve for decades (a '67 Bo last year was profound and lively). Fabrice Langlois described the difference as follows (somewhat romantic, but it makes sense to me): the CdP is an isosceles triangle whereas the Hommage is an equilateral triangle – all parts in equal harmony.

Gerhard - Awesome post. Thank you!!


Thanks for the great info on Pegau. Any idea what their case production of Reservee and Capo are? Any idea for say 2007?

Have you tried the 2007? If so, do you agree with the just released 100pt review on the 2007 Capo? Was a bit surprised that RP’s review on the Reservee was “merely” 95pts.


Thank you so much, Gerhard! You’re a wealth of information. That’s what I love about the Internet - you can learn so much. [thankyou.gif]

I think the wine-making is quite the same for the Maxime/Justine/DC … but remember that 1997 was a much lighter vintage than 1995 and 1998/2000/2003 … that´s why “Justine” turned out so elegant, accessable and Burgundy-like - probably the extraction during fermentation has been slightly more carefully done - also the (minor) influence of the used Burgundy barrels is more obvious than in Maxime and Da Capo, the latter two being far away from real maturity.
Think about 1997 versus 1996 Burgundy, or - still stronger - 1992 versus 1990 Burgundy …

I´ve always preferred Pegau to Beaucastel. E.g. when I did my huge Pegau-vertical some years ago (ALL cuvées from 1981 to 2000, incl. 2000 CL) we had friends at home the next day, and one asked me to open Beaucastel 1981 to compare to the Pegau a day earlier … all found the Pegau the better wine …
But I did like the “old” Beaucastels up to 1994/95 which often were a bit bretty but interesting and intense nevertheless … the new “cleaner” fruity style is not my favorite … for the 50 to 60 bucks I always buy something else …

Unfortunately in my CdP 1990/1998 tasting last June (report here on the board) the C.R. 1990 was corked … but DC 1998 was brilliant if still youthful, one of the stars of the tasting.

please don´t take my estimates for granted, but I think the total production of the domaine is between 90.000 and 100.000 bottles per year, including also the table wine Plan Pegau.

C.Reservée around 70.000 bottles
the white CdP is some 2.500+ bottles,
Cuvee Laurence 7.000 bottles
Da Capo 6.000 bottles

I think that´s also true for 2007 …

I don´t have the RP-review yet (slow mail).
I ´ve tried both from cask, even from fermenting vat.
In my 2007 CdP tasting last spring I rated the Reservée 96 (or 96+ if I remember correctly).
Not tasted DC from bottle yet, but from cask it HAD the potential for a perfect score, no doubt.
Reservee 2007 is certainly a great wine, and I don´t care a damn if somebody rates it 95, 96 or whatever … you can´t drink any points, and the wine is absolutely what I love in CdP in general and in Pegau particularily … another 1990 … and that´s enough for me.
"You can´t have enough Pegau in your cellar" (C)GP

  • and I regret very much that my stock of 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993 is ending soon … Pegau is a wine that is getting greater with bottle age … as good as a 2004 or 2006 is now, the real thing is drinking it with age 15, 20, even 25+ years in great vintages.
    Tahe a great 1978 - and you´ll get an idea how 2007 will taste in 2030+


Thanks for the additional comments and information. Didn’t realize that they made so much Reservee, though I guess they would have to for supply to be as somewhat ubiquitous as it seems to be. Given the fairly limited amount of Capo, I am actually surprised at the large quantity of mags, 3Ls, 6Ls and larger that they bottle of it.

Pegau has really emerged as one of my favorite CdP producers - really since a couple visits 8-10 years ago with Paul and my experience with the 1998-2000. I realized that I made a mistake in “only” buying 6-12 bottles of the 1998-2001 and have tried hard to rectify that with subsequent vintages.

I’ve certainly taken your slogan about not having too much Pegau to heart with 2007 so I certainly hope your comments as well as Parker’s hold true when I get a chance to taste it. I am also counting on its longevity is as you suggest given the quantities that I have bought. I usually never buy more than 6-12 bottles of anything so buying multiple cases and large formats of the 2007 Pegau is far from my typical pattern but I really thought it could be a marvelous wine to be able to check in a few times a year for a couple decades.