TN: Chateau de Beaucastel Dinner

CHATEAU DE BEAUCASTEL DINNER - Tippling Club, Singapore (23/2/2012)

Pierre Perrin was back in Singapore and this time he brought Chateau de Beaucastel’s resident chef, Laurent Deconinck, with him. They took over the helm of the kitchen at Tippling Club and cooked up a superb meal. This was simply one of the best wines dinners I have had for some time. Small line-up, just five wines, but the quality across the board was brilliant and the wonderfully prepared food paired so perfectly that there were more “epiphany” moments in this one dinner than I have had over many a great meal. In fact, the small line-up with its generous multiple pours of each wine actually gave us more time to savour each glass of wine and the dish that it accompanied. This was a night I will remember for a long, long time to come.

  • 2007 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    I enjoyed this very much. A nice wine matched perfectly with grilled lobster tail in Argan oil and julienned vegetables. It had a rather tight nose, but really quite nice even then, with bits of lemon zest sprinkled over some stone fruit scents with earth and spice nuances, and a nice touch of white flowers and almond nut aromas. Not all that expressive, but I like what it showed. The palate was quite rich, almost oily textured, but beautifully balanced, with a little drip of lemony acidity over a core of pear and stone fruit as the wine flowed into a longish finish infused with sweet spice and floral hints. Pretty good, and it worked wonderfully with our food. (92 pts.)


  • 2006 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    This was beautiful. Much deeper and broader than the straight Beaucastel blanc on the first flight, the nose flowed out of the glass with rich stone fruit aromas, think peach and nectarines, and then golden honey and white flowers, like acacia and osmanthus, and just a little touch of spice at the edges. Very nice. With time, a bit of chalky minerality floated up to add even more complexity to the bouquet. I really liked that, but it was really on the palate that the wine truly wow-ed me. It had layer upon layers of depth, with lovely honeyed flavours, custard apple and stone fruited nuances at the core and motes of tropical fruit, spice and white flowers floating around like a little halo of higher-toned notes - all this couched in a luxuriously creamy body. This wine was large-scaled, generous, and yet beautifully balanced in spite of its rich depth and powerful flavours, with a good touch of acidity that lent the wine a lovely sense of focus and helped to lift it slightly as it stretched away into a wonderfully long finish. Absolutely beautiful, and it was just perfect with a beautiful dish of sea-urchin risotto topped with a dollop of fresh cream and generous shavings of Provence black truffles. (94 pts.)


  • 2001 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    An amazing wine. Still many years away from being anywhere near peak, but this was nonetheless a wonderful drink after some 5.5 hours in a decanter. It had a beautiful nose, with deep, deep aromas of dark berries and stewed meak nuances seasoned with garrigue and hints of smoky spice. Still a bit reticent, but already really nice, with a great sense of depth and breadth to its dark fruited aromas. The palate was wonderful as well. It was just perfectly balanced and supremely integrated, coming across as a deeper, broader, more noble version of the already superb straight Beaucastel 2001, with an almost monolithic flow of black cherries, dark berries and savoury meat and earth, all packed into a powerful yet fresh, juicy and beautifully focused package. The finish unfolded wonderfully as well, pulling away in a lovely fresh flow of black fruit seasoned with just a touch of juniper berries and garrigue. Still young, still tight, still needs many, many years yet, and it will continued growing and growing too, given its tremendous sense of structure and presence, with a muscular seam of supple tannins running through its black fruited depth. Boy this was fantastic. Amongst the very best CdPs I have ever had, and it was a perfect marriage with a beautiful cut of Kagoshima Beef grilled with a crust of black truffle and juniper berries - a dish which echoed the meat and garrigue notes on the wine quite hauntingly. This will be a monster in 5 or 6 years, and perhaps even better a decade down the road. Wonderful. It would easily have been wine of the night, or on almost any other night, save for the wonderful 1990 Beaucastel that followed it. (96 pts.)


  • 1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Incredibly beautiful. This was as close to a perfect CdP as I have had for a long time. As good as the wonderful 2001 Hommage de Jacques Perrin that preceded it was, this bottle had the advantage of 11 more years of age, and it was far more ready to drink. After more than 5 hours in the decanter, it was at just about a perfect place, leading off with a beautiful nose that was pure Provence, with lifted scents of black cherries and dark berries dancing alongside a leathery, meaty base with a lovely touch of garrigue and stony minerality at the edges. Complex, compelling, but almost playful in its liveliness, this was a bouquet that just drew you in - it was about the perfect introduction to the wine’s stunning palate. Here, above all, it was brilliantly fresh, focused and refined, lacking some of the warm voluptuousness of the 1989 Beaucastel maybe, but this was more than made up for by the wine’s wonderful sense of poise and graceful balance as it almost soared through the mouth in pure, bright flavours of dark cherries and blackberries weighted down by a lovely touch of meat and spice. Make no mistake though, there was tons of power in the wine, yet it wore its depth and weight so well, given the wonderful balance and its robe of silky tannins, that you barely noticed this. A perfect pairing with roasted Canette (duckling) breast in a foie gras and clove reduction, every mouthful of wine wrapped the tasty morsels of meat in a super long, yet freshly detailed finish of sweet black and red cherries - always high-toned and lifted, it was delight all the way into a lingering tail, where the fruit was kissed by a hint of smoke and some lovely garrigue notes. Amazing. This is a wine I wish I could drink on a regular basis. It is hard to decide whether this or the 1989 is better, but both wines are a tremendous credit to Beaucastel. While this should go on in the bottle for many years yet, I see no reason why this should not be consumed now with a nice lengthy decant and some appropriate food. (96 pts.)


  • 2004 Perrin & Fils Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise
    A nice way to round up a dinner of very nice wines. I did not think that this was up to the quality of the quartet of Chateau de Beaucastel wines that preceded it, but it was a good, interesting little sweet wine in its own right. The nose had nice complexity to it, with a little earthy background upon which fresh scents of garrigue, jasmine flowers and orange blossoms danced around a core of honeyed, stone fruit aromas. The palate had a rich, creamy textured depth, but this was wed to fresh acidity running through its very flowery flavours, ranging from white flower petals to linden leaf, chamomile and almond nut cream touched with just a little note of spice at the finish. Interesting and very drinkable. (90 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Yum. Time to figure out where I put my 1990s.

Beautiful notes, Paul; well-done,sir. [cheers.gif] IMO, your notes reflect those wines with unblemished clarity and great precision.

I, too, recently had the opportunity to have the '90, and very much agree with your assessment of that wine. You say, “This was as close to a perfect CdP as I have had for a long time.” and then only give it 96 points!?! Man, you are tough! [tease.gif] [wink.gif] [cheers.gif] I believe I said something to the effect of “This may very well be a perfect wine.” and didn’t score it, but I certainly had a range of 98 - 100 in my mind while uttering those words. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous wine that '90 is, with many years ahead of it, if one so prefers.

And the food – good lord, the food! – sounds absolutely divine. I just learned about Argan oil last week, and can imagine it would work wonderfully with lobster. And the sea urchin risotto – {drool}! Both dishes sound like perfect accompaniments to some Beaucastel Blanc. Thanks for sharing this with us, Paul. [cheers.gif]

Yes, excellent notes; thanks for taking the time to write up your report on what must have been a wonderful dinner, Paul.

Thanks for the replies guys.

Always great to hear from you Brian - the food was quite amazing, as was the 1990. Pierre Perrin mentioned that Beaucastel actually opened a restaurant in Gigondas where they try to do the same pairing thing with their wines and those of friends from the region. You should hop down to try it given that you are a stone’s throw away via the Eurostar service from London to Avignon that runs in the summer! :slight_smile:

Fantastic wine dinner, thanks for the notes. What format were the bottles in? I had the Beaucastel CDP 1990 from a 3L over ten years ago at a tasting (courtesy of Russell Bevan) and the wine at that time was monumental. The more I’m in this wine “hobby” the more I believe in the enhancement of the wine in a larger format.

Great dinner and excellent notes, thanks.

What is canette? Duckling?

I’m sure Ashley and I will find ourselves in the Southern Rhone at some time during the next couple years; I’ll try to keep this in mind for that time. Thanks for the tip, Paul. [cheers.gif]

Great notes per usual Paul. Did Perrin touch on anything regarding bottle variation in the 90 or perhaps the drinking window of the Hommages? Anything about the VV versus regular blancs and his philosophy towards that choice?

We had some mid-90s hommages that were painfully backward to me, but interesting to try nonetheless. The 90 is indeed a benchmark CDP not for its complexity but for its sensuous and exuberant femininity.

ps - totally agree with you. When you are drinking good wine, why pour more than 6 or so bottles? The true nuance (which is why we drink this stuff, no?) gets lost too often in the shuffle.

Great notes, as always, Paul. Thanks.

Hi all,

Matt - Canette is indeed duckling!

Faryan - great questions. Pierre Perrin has actually been in Singapore a few times and we have had a few sessions with him, so this was a good opportunity to move beyond the usual wine tasting questions to get to know him a bit better personally. Unfortunately, as your questions have shown, I should have spent a bit more time talking about the wines! From what I do remember:

Whites: the straight Blanc and the Rousanne VV are very different animals. The former does come from pretty old vines as well actually, with Roussane vines past the average age of 60yrs. However, this is blended with a healthy proportion of Grenache blanc, and is almost always done in a lighter, rather fresher style. The VV on the other hand is styled to be a richer, more opulent wine to go with richer food, as our pairings showed.

Drinking windows: the answer here was a bit more politically correct. Pierre said that he liked the wines for different things at different ages. Hommage aside, he said that the straight Beaucastel rouge shows more Grenache when young, Mourvedre character at middle-age, say 7+ years after bottling, and a nice blend of both when matured along with secondary flavours. For what it is worth, I thought the 2001 Hommage was far from ready. Quite a big difference from the very nice 2001 Beaucastel that I had last year, which was taking big strides into its drinking window.

Awesome notes, thanks Paul. I had '90 Beau for the first time a month ago, and I was stunned. Probably the first time my wife was floored by a wine, too. Brian’s words sum it up pretty well for me:

I, too, recently had the opportunity to have the '90, and very much agree with your assessment of that wine. You say, “This was as close to a perfect CdP as I have had for a long time.” and then only give it 96 points!?! Man, you are tough! I believe I said something to the effect of “This may very well be a perfect wine.” and didn’t score it, but I certainly had a range of 98 - 100 in my mind while uttering those words. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous wine that '90 is, with many years ahead of it, if one so prefers.

My only problem is a bunch of it went to non-wine geeks who probably would have been more impressed with Silver Oak. [swearing.gif] [stirthepothal.gif] [swearing.gif]

Have you guys who regularly put down Silver Oak actually tasted any aged ones? A tasting of 1984-1995 Silver Oak (including Alexander, which was often the best one) could be just about as interesting as a tasting of 1984-1995 Beaucastel, provided you like both areas. There are plenty of label chasers buying Beaucastel too, for that matter.

I knew someone was going to say that, I almost said “current vintage Silver Oak.” neener I have had a few great older bottles, but to me I’d rather drink the recent Robert Mondavi Napa bottlings than the Silver Oak bottlings for a fraction of the cost. All that marketing expense has to come from somewhere.

I’ve tried, but I can’t come up with anything as silly as complaining to a TN author that 96/100 is too low for any wine, much less CNdP. Jeeez Louise.

Hahahaha… lots of little quips coming up. The highest number I have ever stuck to a wine is 97 or 98 I think.

The numbers are really my own arbitrary little scale to help me keep track of how much I like a wine. I have tried to correlate it to the what I understand the average CT moving range is like. However, I do hope that the notes, at least, are more helpful than the numbers!

Good on ya, Paul. Though I am interested in it, there is no need to justify or explain your system. There is way more than enough of that everywhere already. Post your notes, apply your numbers, and in time I will either align with your views, or not. Beautiful.

And align or not, I’d very much like to drink wine with you. I like your notes.