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.
| Vinous 90 points (Apr 2014)
Youthful purple. Spicy, highly perfumed dark berry and Indian spice scents show very good clarity and pick up a smoky nuance with air. Densely packed but lithe too, with juicy black and blue fruit flavors and a touch of lavender adding lift. Dusty tannins shape the finish, which clings with impressive tenacity and subtle spiciness. According to Marc Perrin, the vines that provide the fruit for this wine are now over 80 years old.
Wine Advocate 89 points (Oct 2014)
A juicy, forward and textured example of this cuvee (especially when tasted next to the 2013), the 2012 Coudoulet de Beucastel Cotes du Rhone has juicy blueberry, garrigue and lavender notes to go with a fleshy, medium to full-bodied feel on the palate. Soft, with low acidity and a hard-to-resist feel, it has just enough tannic grip to keep it drinking nicely for 7-8 years.
|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.