The Night of the Bad Beaucastels

My experience has been that there are a set of great Chateauneuf estates that age very reliably: Beaucastel, Pegau, Vieux Telegraphe, Rayas, Pignan and Bonneau. There may well be others. Apart from those my own experience has been very mixed with some beautiful Burgundy-styled wines but also too many oxidizing and pickly ones (from good storage). As a result I stopped buying anything other than my first list unless it was to drink young.

With respect to 2007, we had a tasting last year that included Beaucastel, VT and Pegau, and they all showed well, nothing roasted or overripe. In the same flight we had several other 2007s that were exactly the stereotype of the vintage - hot, pruny and just not good. Vieux Donjon was one. I don’t recall what else.

We just did a 2007 retrospective. The Beaucastel along with Pegau and De Capo were in a league of their own. Wines were fresh as a daisy with a long road ahead.

Haven’t had 2007 Beau, but opened a 2006 about 13 months ago and found it young, but beautiful nonetheless. Of the old reliables that Craig mentions one post up, For 2007 I’ve only had the VT, and found hot and plummy notes. My experience with so-called ‘big’ vintages of VT is they take even longer to come around then normal. At least 15 years! Beau has different percentages on the cepage, but perhaps that holds true for it too.

You have to take into account that these wines are going to be ‘different’ than any other CdP because of the higher percentage of Mourvedre in the mix. You will not get the same soaring aromatics or lift that a higher level of (ripe) Grenache will give the mix.

I do have a few questions regarding the method of ‘flash detente’ that Beaucastel has been known to use:

!) Anyone know if they use this on all of their grapes?

  1. Anyone know when they started using this technique?

I do wonder if there’s any issue with ‘age-ability’ with these wines after using this technique?

The other ‘challenge’ here as usual is that it’s impossible to say that we are commenting on the ‘wine’ as each bottle will truly be a unique experience - especially because these wines are unfiltered and they are bottled with natural cork.


Both bottles of the '07 that I have drank have been excellent (for my tastes). that was two and three years ago. I have not had the 2010 or 2011.

2007 in not a year for my palate. However, some love the big hot style of 2007. That style doesn’t age well (10 years is barely aged for classic CdPs).

2001 was the last Beaucastel year that I loved, and it’s worth checking out now.
Everyone I know was disappointed in 98. Unlike other vintages, this one was mostly grenache. It’s the Mouvedre that makes Beaucastel what it is.

If you want to try a classic well aged CdP, the 98 Vieux Telegraph is drinking really, really well these days.

I like Craig’s list for aging except I no longer buy Pegau (too many bottles that are bretty beyond my preference), and I don’t have experience with Bonneau.

As far as Beaucastel, 2011 was an atypical year for them, their 2011 was very forward and less obviously Mourvedre dominated in its youth. I like both the 2000 and 2001, most of the rest of my experience drinking them has been vintages from the 1980s and 1990s.


This has been my take as well, except for the difficulty obtaining Bonneau and cost of Rayas which has limited my experience with those.

I buy less Pegau because it is one of those wines that lacks universal appeal due to its brettiness. I still like it but tend not to open them for others.

Posted by Larry Schaffer
I do have a few questions regarding the method of ‘flash detente’ that Beaucastel has been known to use:

Don’t know when they started, but I know they’ve been doing it for several generations, before I started buying their wines in the 1980’s. I believe they do it for all the fruit that goes into their main cuvee. The wines from the 1980’s have aged beautifully. I haven’t touched my wines from the 1990’s. Can’t say about more recent wines since I haven’t bought from them since the 2000’s.

While I don’t like to read about bottles like the 1998 that I have in inventory, I appreciate the note and unless I read of others who like it, my two that I recently acquired will go on the sale block if someone else wants to experiment.

Drank a 2014 Beaucastel tonight, was delicious and epitomized everything I want from CdP, albeit in a very youthful way. Completely reinforces my belief that Beaucastel is still one of the top non-spoof CdPs that’s readily available. Have 3 bottles left and will drink over the next 15+ years.

In my experience Beaucastel is at its best after about 30 years. I have had mixed experiences too notably with 1998s but am going to let them sleep rather than sell them.

Interesting. Why was that?

Controversial wine

I know of people in the UK, who I would describe as hard core Rhône enthusiasts who have given this favourable reviews. Most reviews have been mixed to poor, however.

I suspect that there is so much of this produced that there is a lot of bottle variation, given the credibility of positive and negative reviewers.

I have a fair bit of this which I will let sleep.

I found a 2009 Beaucastel to be drinking mighty fine recently.

Must have been bad bottles if you enjoy CdP. Last '06 I had a couple years after being released was stellar.

Doesn’t strike me as a love/hate polarizing wine like Cayuse

I had the 1998 Sunday night. Stunning! Opened a bit reduced and funky but after 30 min. It was soaring. I think it is just now coming out to play.

I drank a lot of these. For years, my experiences with the ‘98s matched Kelly’s. Sadly, my Beaucastels from that vintage crashed and burned around 2014; all subsequent bottles matched David’s description, resembling soupy barbecue sauce. It was really weird; they went from being a favorite to undrinkable over a short period of time. It has made me fearful for my ample stash of ‘01s. The last one I had wasn’t as good as previous bottles. Gerhard might opine that the ‘98s are too young or in a dumb phase, but I saw no potential for temporal redemption. More like a toxic phase.


I haven’t tried the 2007 Beaucastel, but their 2007 Coudelet was still drinking well recently.

It seems like some of the controversy around the wines is likely

a) storage/provenance/shipping
b) personal tolerance for Mourvedre

When I was first getting into wine, some of the funkier Rhones were hard to accept.