Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 1997


The story
Château de Beaucastel has long been considered one of the great wines of France. It is unanimously renowned for its balance, elegance and ageing potential. Beaucastel has an extraordinary terroir at the Northern end of the appellation with heavy exposure to the Mistral. All 13 varieties of the appellation have been organically grown here since the sixties.
The vintage
A delicate vintage
A hale storm hurt a part of the Mourvêdre, Counoise and Muscardin,
But the crops were harvested in perfect condition.
Châteauneuf du Pape, between Orange and Avignon, Château de Beaucastel red is a 70-hectare vineyard.
Château de Beaucastel is 110 hectares, with one single plot at the north of the appellation. The terroir is archetypal of the best terroirs in Châteauneuf: rolled pebbles on the surface, sand, clay and limestone deeper down. The vines are old and have been organically grown for 50 years, which has allowed the roots to grow exceptionally deep.
Beaucastel grows all thirteen grape varieties authorised by the appellation.
Each variety is harvested manually and separately. Vinification is completed in truncated oak barrels for the reductive grapes (Mourvèdre and Syrah) and in traditional tiled cement tanks for the oxidative grapes (such as Grenache). After the malolactic fermentations, the family blends the different varieties and then the wine ages in oak Foudres for a year before being bottled.
Grenache : 30%
Mourvèdre : 30%
Vaccarèse, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Clairette, Picpoul, Picardan, Bourboulenc, Roussanne : 15%
Syrah : 10%
Counoise : 10%
Cinsault : 5%


15°C and if possible decant before serving.
Tasting notes
Fairly light red colour with signs of evolution.
The nose is evolved but very elegant with notes of old leather and spices.
The mouth is also very elegant with a Northern style and a good acidity.

Pinot enthusiasts will love this wine.

To drink now.


"Yields for the 1997 Chateauneuf du Pape were tiny, averaging 22 hectoliters per hectare, and the wine is one of the most seductive and forward young Beaucastels I have tasted since the 1985. The blend was 35% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 10% Counoise, 5% Syrah, 5% Cinsault, and the rest other southern Rhone varietals. The deep ruby color is accompanied by forward, attractive aromatics consisting of black raspberries, cherries, licorice, floral, and herb scents. The wine is fruit-driven, with less structure than usual, but luscious cassis, licorice, and blackberries inundate the palate with no hard edges. A seductive, supple-textured, medium to full-bodied Beaucastel, this wine should drink well young, and last for 15 or more years."
"A clever effort for '97. Dark and fruit-driven, this fresh, compacted Châteauneuf delivers blackberry, toasted oak, plum and game. The tannins are well integrated in the ways of modern winemaking"
"Beautiful wine despite a complicated vintage. A lot of finesse and balance for this vintage that is now ready to drink. Very elegant and perfect wine to enjoy now.
Stand the bottle upright 48 hours before serving to avoid any deposit
Around 9.5
"Medium ruby in color, this wine smells of beautiful cherry and raspberry fruit, wet stones, and a bit of crushed green herbs. In the mouth the wine is still a bit compressed, more narrow, with mineral and wet earth character along with cherry and raspberry fruit that are all held firmly in the grip of powdery tannins. The finish is a little shorter, but the acidity is excellent, and the deep minerality of the wine shows through. 1997 was a cold, rainy vintage, and widely dismissed as a poor year. "