TN: 2001 Château de Beaucastel - Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape)

I´m really surprised how many bottles are shot/oxidized/cooked or whatever when opened in the US (according to what I read here).
I cannot remember a single bottle over the last years that was “shot” like that and less than 30/40 years old (except corked bottles and very few whites that I would call really premoxed), not even lesser Cotes-du-Rhone or Languedoc … from my cellar or from friends with fine cellars.

Very sorry it didn’t show as you hoped, Brian, and big thanks to you and everyone for weighing in on the discussion about dumb/sleep etc. with the Blanc. I’ve wondered myself and have chosen to “believe”, but only because I get to have/try so little of this. I only have one tangential data point, the 2006 VV. My first try was in September 2009, single-blind IIRC:

“Mine was my first time with this wine. Wow—honeyed, almost mead-laced pear and tinge of apricot and then sandalwood comes in behind it. Quite a bouquet. It’s silky. It’s also a total baby. Tingly but with apple peel and pear peel too. Later, the aroma of the 2006 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes intensifies, but perhaps at the cost of the palate which softens some. Still, this is a VERY interesting wine that showed facets over 4 hours. There was some animated discussion about how warm to serve this (my own personal feeling is that it shouldn’t be chilled) and how much the alcohol (14%, some had guessed well over the 15% mark) showed—other than that tingle, the alcohol did not present to me at all.”

I didn’t have this again until July 2016, nearly 7 years later. That was at my WineFest IV where, out of 109 bottles, it placed 10th overall:

2006 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes

Expansive honeysuckle and an alluring citrus side note to the bouquet. This has just come out of hiding and is smooth, deep and delish with pear, nougat, flowers and melon rind, all without being in any way over-sweet. A bit of lanolin feel, there is a lot of wine here and it has rewarded my patience beautifully. #10

I think the 2009 drink was POP. In 2016, I uncorked it the day before, but no slow-ox.

I hope Loren pops in on this thread—he was present for both tastes and may have had more in terms of (other) data points. I’m opening a 2003 in a few weeks as part of the FallTacular weekend and will try to remember to report on that here.

Salud, and wishing that your next bottle will show nicely.


I’ve had premoxed bottles of 1995 and 1999 Beaucastel VV Roussanne. Not just the closed, dumb, pseudo-oxed state they sometimes go through, but brown and totally shot/oxidized, while other bottles from the case were fine.

Thanks, Mike. [cheers.gif] To be fair to the Wine Gods, I did purchase my two bottles of this wine “eyes wide open,” so to speak. I bought them in early March of last year, and I checked the CT notes before doing so. There are some good notes there. I chose to consider most of the bad notes as ones reflective of a tight/closed wine, as opposed to a dead/oxidized wine. I truly thought I was going to open this and find, perhaps, a tight wine that would reveal some of itself with air, if not a fully expressive wine showing the hallmark character of the Roussanne grape that others mistook for oxidation (according to an RP note, the cepagé is 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc, Picardin, and Bourboulenc). Turns out I gave others short shrift: you saw my note; this wine is a whole lot of nothing right now, if not forever.

John’s point re: faux-oxidation upon opening is one with which I agree. I’ve had enough oxidized bottles to know what oxidized white wine smells like — it has a smell. This wine – no smell (virtually). This struck me as a wine that had aged to a point of nothingness, if it’s not simply shut-down/closed in the harshest of ways.

I hosted a tasting last night with seven Beaucastels back to 1990. The 2001 was one of the standouts – fruit thinning a tad and the tannins had smoothed out, but there was lots of freshness of flavor and nice acidity. I gave it 92+. No oxidation whatsoever. Not in any way tired. (An '07 Vieux Telegraph was quite oxidized, and an '08 VT had a trace of oxidation.)

The only off bottle of Beaucastel was the '98, which was slightly corked and had a lot of VA – ethyl acetate/shoe polish.

I’ve experienced quite a large number of premoxed white (and red) wines from CdP including both cuvees of white Beaucastel. Usually you can also see that the wines are more oxidised than other bottles from the same box by just looking at the color of the wine.

As others have stated, I believe it is most likely that if a wine tastes and looks excessively oxidised, that it is and will forever be over the hill.

The hard to believe story about white Beaucastel sometimes going though an oxidised/dumb phase is in my opinion likely just one of the many signs that people (not only producers but also consumers) are inclined to downplay problems with wines (same as with cork taint when this was a much larger problem than it is today). In case of defects with products, especially other similarly expensive products, usually consumers react much less forgiving which pushes producers to solve the quality issues.