Château de Beaucastel is located five kilometres south-east of Orange at the northerly limit of the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation. The 30 hectares Coudoulet de Beaucastel vineyard is found just to the east of Beaucastel on the other side of the busy A7 autoroute. For reasons that will become evident, it is often referred to as a baby Beaucastel. When one looks at the soil geology at Coudoulet, the similarities to the soil at Beaucastel are legion. It is composed of a layer of marine limestone from the Miocene period, covered by a deposit of alpine diluvium. This blanket of rounded stones or "galets" contributes much to the wines of Beaucastel: they retain the intense heat of the Mediterranean sun during the day then slowly disperse it to the vines during the night. They also provide a head start to the vineyard in springtime. During the long Mediterranean summer, lack of water can stress the vineyard at times.
However, the resistance built into Beaucastel's vine stock from 30 years of continuous organic culture allow the vineyard to get through drought periods with little problem. Also, for the reason that the soil is porous and aerated, the vineyards at Beaucastel have developed root systems that penetrate deep into the earth in their search for water.
Coudoulet as with Beaucastel, owes its ability to age to the large proportion of Mourvedre - about 30% - that makes up the final cuvée. It provides a tannic backbone and resistance to oxidation that ensures long life. In addition, Mourvedre brings aromas of leather, tobacco, and spice to the blend. One should note also that the Beaucastel and Coudoulet vineyards are at the northerly limit for the cultivation of Mourvedre.
|Appearance : bright and with great depth, lively.
Nose: red fruits.
Palate : thyme, luscious.
| Wine Advocate 90 points (Oct 2013)
Starting the reds, the 2012 Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet de Beaucastel looks to be an outstanding example of this cuvee. Showing plenty of black cherry, mineral, cracked pepper and underbrush, it is medium-bodied, possesses great acidity, and gains in both richness and depth in the glass. While most Cotes du Rhones drink best in their first 4-5 years of life, this cuvee can age well past a decade. Drink now-2022.
|Wine maker notes
|Coudoulet as with Beaucastel, owes its ability to age to the large proportion of Mourvedre - about 30% - that makes up the final cuvée. It provides a tannic backbone and resistance to oxidation that ensures long life. In addition, Mourvedre brings aromas of leather, tobacco, and spice to the blend. One should note also that the Beaucastel and Coudoulet vineyards are at the northerly limit for the cultivation of Mourvedre.
It is a well recognized fact that the best expressions of any varietal come from the limits of their growing areas. The other main variety, Grenache, gives Coudoulet the rounded fullness and intense fruit that is typical of Côtes du Rhône.
Syrah and Cinsault represent about 20% each and bring tannins and aromatic complexity to Coudoulet. After careful hand harvesting the grapes are transferred to the winery and undergo the same flash heating technique as the red wine of Beaucastel. The maceration is completed in enamel tiled vats over about 12 days and then the free run wine is taken off and a light pneumatic pressing is made.
Each grape variety is kept separately until after the malolactic fermentation when the final blend is decided. The young wine continues to mature for about six months in large oak barrels or "foudres". In March following the vintage, the wine is fined with egg whites and bottled.