Purple Palate Blog

Day 22 – Chateau Neuf du Pape- Chateau Beaucastel.

Awoke in a rush to get to Chateau Beaucastel for our appointment.

Wow alluvial stones abound in the vineyard, with bush vines as far as the eye can see.  It must be a bitch to hand harvest.  There were also bunches still on the vines.

On questioning on the bunches on the vines I found out that Chateau Neuf has the lowest crop level of all wine regions.  35HL/HA.  With chateau Beaucastel owing 100 HA, they still only produce 270000 bottles, much much lower than that.

This is due to extensive quality control, (double sorting) and keeping the 13 varietals allowed in the AOC seperate until after fermentation alcoholic.  With assembly at Malolactic fermentation.

Interestingly Chateau Neuf was the very first French AOC, legislated in 1936, so they pretty much put every limiting law on them.  The system goes, Cote du Rhone AOC , Cote du Rhone Villages AOP, which is divided intoCote du Rhone AOP Cote du Rohone villages (with village named )AOP and Cru wines such as Chateau Neuf du Pape AOP, Gigondas AOP, Beaumes de Venise AOP, Tavel AOP , Lirac AOP, Vinsobres AOP etc.

The Mistral plays a huge part in the region sanitising the vineyards, especially after rains.  At 120 Klms an hour it roars through the vineyards.

The big news for me was that climate change is effecting the vineyards increasing the temp and getting the grapes riper, thus not having to chapitalise to increase alcohol.

We tried the wines and was suitably impressed. Younger wines showed Grenache red fruits, backed up by Mouvedre Black fruits, with an underlying oak, and tight tannins, that (with a vertical tasting of 2016, 2015,2009, and 2001) get richer, with Grenache fruit dropping away and Mouvedre black fruits concentrating and developing, with tertiary notes of earth, mushroom, leather, and tobacco getting dominant.

For me I loved the whites, particularly the Viellers Vigne, 100%Rousanne.  Ripe stone fruits particularly apricot, floral blossoms, then vanilla, hazelnut, almond, toast and nougat. Balanced with fresh acidity was a standout.

After such a delightful time we had lunch and walked the village til dark, which is pretty early today I must say.

Goodnight all

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