The Night of the Bad Beaucastels

Seriously, what is up with this producer? There was a time when Beaucastel was a house favorite, and we bought big (for us) from the '05 vintage on up. Generally, we’ve liked just about every vintage upon release, but none has seemed to age well. Yeah, I know…Most CNdPs don’t age well beyond ten years, or so I’ve heard. But c’mon–Isn’t Beaucastel supposed to be a bit better than the rest?

Last night, we decided to open our last bottle of '07. We bought into the hype of the vintage, and we’ve been opening a bottle or so each year since release. Never truly great, but we held out hope that things would improve. Nope, didn’t happen. Just a perennial tasting note of Dumb & Dumber. Anyway, last night’s '07 was the worst. Truly, just a slap in the face of hot alcohol, tar, and watery dregs from the bottom of the flower box.

So, in attempt to save the night, we open up one of our remaining 2010s and a 2011. Better by comparison, but both were clearly fading fast and delivering nothing out of the absolute ordinary. Again, lots of hot alcohol, tired garrigue, and various other signs of wine that just failed to launch.

In a final, “what the Hell, let’s open everything until we find something we like” moment, we opened up an '07 Clos des Papes that we’ve kept patiently waiting in a cellar spot right next the Beaucastels. The difference as absolutely striking. While I wouldn’t say this totally dispelled my doubts about the region or the vintage, the CdP was head and shoulders better. Richer, multi-dimensional, with balanced fruit and herbs. Sure, I know CdP is a more expensive wine, but it’s not that much more expensive. Side by side, the color was different as well. Clos des Papes a deep crimson, nearly opaque in the glass, while the Beaucastel was a thin, reddish mahogany. I mean, it didn’t even look good.

OK, maybe it’s just me. I checked CellarTracker, and the Beaucastels of vintages noted here are still receiving rave reviews. But honestly, I don’t think this wine stands up to scrutiny…

Thank you. I feel better now.

Robert, sorry to hear. We recently had a Beaucastel retrospective and the wines from the late 80"s and 90"s were fabulous. More time?

The last 2000 I opened was stunning. Have a 99 in the queue.

Here’s my completely uninformed take: the ‘10 and ‘11 weren’t ready yet and the 07 is a mess of a vintage across the region. :slight_smile:

Man, I thought the 2007 Beaucastel was one of the only good 2007s…now I’m scared to check in on another one.

I love the 07 beaucastel. Been working my way through a case, it’s by far my favorite 07 in the price range.

Last night was a “leaf night” in the biodynamic calendar…so that may (Maybe) have something to do with how the wines showed. I hate to say this…but I’ve definitely noticed a correlation with Beaucastel and the biodynamic calendar…that’s why i now have three apps on my phone to make sure I don’t miss them…or so I don’t open biodynamic wines on nights that aren’t flowers or fruits. Weird…but it’s helped me have far, far better luck.

+1, I have been impressed with the 07. Here’s my note from a few weeks ago.

  • 2007 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1/31/2018)
    Dusty garrique and savory Provençal herbs infused with blackberries on the nose. Mouthfilling palate ripe and rich but not too much, actually silky and shows lovely balance. There’s an intense burst of blackberries on the back end of the palate that adds some interest and detail on the long finish. Showing very well tonight. The last half of the bottle threw a lot of sediment, so probably should decant these going forward. (95 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Not a believer here, and I think it would be very difficult for an individual to separate any real effect from confirmation bias. That aside, even for the faithful, according to Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar 2023, Friday night (2/9) on the west coast of the US was a fruit/seed day.

Kyle may be right about the 2010 and 2011 being in a dumb phase. I haven’t tried them. But I’ve liked the 2007. Still a bit young but coming along and not the disaster one has come to expect from that vintage.

David, the biodynamic calendar follows Eastern Standard Time. Everyone knows that.


Still a fruit/seed day. And a good day for cleaning windows without leaving a smudge!

Beaucastel is a very fine producer, but it has been wildly overpriced to value for years. Its good. Its QPR is very low these days, like Pegau and Clos des Papes

That is complete rubbish … Seriously!
(… Beaucastel and the issues in your tasting aside …)


I can’t speak at all for more recent (let’s say Parker era) C9dP, but I’ve had a number of good bottles from 1970s / 1980s that were very good with 2-3 decades on them. Whether the style changes over the last couple of decades mean the past isn’t a good indicator of the future, I don’t know. However others here will have better experience of the move to riper styles.

I´ve had dozens if not 100s of ChdP more than 10 years old … and (if there wasn´t an issue with storage/shipping) almost all did age well beyond that date. I admit they were usually from very good to fine producers, but certainly of a variety of styles from very traditional to quite modern …
so the statement

“Most CNdPs don’t age well beyond ten years…”

is … whatever you call it … [bullshit.gif]

Just recently (FWIW) I had a 2000 Clos du Caillou Reserve (aged 17+) which was a gorgeous wine, mature but maybe still improving (or at least changing to more tertiaery components) … and this is neither a very traditional producer nor was 2000 a cool vintage …
Dozens more examples …

Sure there are ChdPs that don´t age well, but those were never good wines, usually from negociants who buy and mix together whatever they can get … or from incompetent (and fairly unknown) producers …

That was my thought.

The last 2000 I opened was stunning. Have a 99 in the queue.

Agree on the 2000. Loved the 2000 a few weeks back and think it is a perfect drinking window. I would not wait five years on them. 2001 not as good for my likely but still solid.

2000 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1/28/2018)
Annual CDP Tasting (Edina Country Club): This was firing on all cylinders tonight. Huge wine but in a good way. Gravel, funk, red currants and Garrique. This was concentrated and a long finish. I have never had a Beaucastel that tasted like this and enjoyed this one more than any previous. (94 points)

I have never been a fan of this label…
Just didn’t understand the hype…
never had a bottle of Beaucastel that spoke to me.

I haven’t bought Beaucastel since I bought a 6 pack of 10 year anniversary 1998. The wine was a hot mess. Over ripe, oxidized and roasted. Other bottles from friends cellars were the same.

Oddly I have had some later vintages that seemed ok at tastings but would not bet my own money on this Domaine.

There are lots of CdP wines drinking well from the 98 vintage, but others have crashed. I’m pretty sure some wineries struggled with the ripeness. This seems to be the case in 03 and 07 as well. I generally only buy Southern Rhones from mediocre vintages like 08 and 11 now. YMMV.

I would not buy either. I don’t hate them but there is better value out there for my palate.