Château de Beaucastel has long been considered as one of the greatest wines in France. It is famously known for its elegance, balance and ageing potential. Beaucastel has an exceptional terroir at the northern limit of the appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, exposed to the mistral wind. All thirteen varieties of the appellation have been grown organically since the sixties.
Situation:Châteauneuf-du-Pape, between Orange and Avignon, Château de Beaucastel red is a 70-hectare vineyard.
Terroir:Château de Beaucastel is 70 hectares, in one single plot at the north of the appellation. The terroir is archetypal of the best terroirs in Châteuneuf: rolled pebbles on the surface, sand, clay and limestone deeper down. The vines are old and have been organically grown for over 50 years, which has allowed the roots to grow exceptionally deep.
Process:Each variety is harvested separately and manually. Vinification takes place in oak fermenters for the reductive varieties (Mourvèdre, Syrah) and in traditional enamelled concrete tanks for the oxydative grapes (all the others). Once the malolactic fermentation is finished, the Perrin family blends the different varieties. The blend is then aged in oak foudres for a year before bottling.
Grapes:Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre Cinsault Terret Noir Counoise Muscardin Vaccarese Clairette
The 2011 vintage is a vintage of contrasts
A hot, dry spring.
The 2011 vintage began with an extremely hot and dry spring (the hottest and driest of the century in certain regions of France). Because the vines were developing quickly, we had anticipated an early harvest.
A cool and wet July.
July was marked by fluctuations between sunny days and cool rainy days (around 60mm). The rainfall served to replenish the vines from the dry spring and the vines caught up with the normal vegetative cycle. During this period, mildew appeared on the vine leaves, which was important to control. The mistral winds, as usual, blew after the rain, promoting a healthy environment for the vineyards.
Summer became Indian summer beginning in mid-August
From the second week of August up until the month of October (Indian summer) the hot and windy days settled in. September and October were exceptionally hot (+ 3,1° in September 2011 compared to 2010; +2,4 in October). We began harvesting Syrah in mid-September and Grenache as of the 21st, therefore the harvest commenced on time. The late harvest varieties (Mourvèdre, Counoise) particularly benefitted from the Indian summer. The grapes were healthy and the crop yield was fairly large, which drove us to carry out a ruthless green harvest.