$200 at Beacon Wine and Spirits, NY.
Chateau de Beaucastel is one of those large houses, widely distributed wines that make the exception because of their certified biodynamic vineyards and the use of organic cultivation. The average age of the vines for this vintage is 50 years old, which is noticeable on the palate. They also masterfully use all 13 of the permitted varietals in their signature blend, creating in each year a unique vintage. In this stellar vintage, the weather was very hot, which allowed for the 13 varietals to truly thrive and there is an unusually large percent of Mourvedre - 30%! It is this 30% that give this vintage its very strong backbone for age-ability. There is also 30% Grenache, which provides for the silky texture. This is truly one of those "special occasion" wines one pulls out of the cellar with eager anticipation. We took our last bottle from the cellar for Christmas dinner and it had aged beautifully. It surpassed all expectations and previous Rhone experiences. On the nose, it exhibits dark earth, wet after a heavy rain, traditional barnyard funk, a soft hint of dark red fruits, figs, prunes, and a unique but subtle note of wet socks. These may be strange words to use to describe the essence of a wine but in its own unique way, these words describe a profound pleasantness and complexity. On the palette, the complexity and layers shine through with each sip undressing and exposing a deeper more profound aspect of the wine. The elegant structure and silky smooth, fully integrated tannins almost feign an aged Burgundy but the richness and complexity give away its true identity. Like a complex fireworks display, it is best to take in the splendor of it all with the first sip. The first noticeable feature is its elegance and softness. Then the rich earth notes hit the palate with the profound - feel it on your chest - impact of canon blasts from a famous 1812 overture in a symphonic hall! The fruit, still ever present, follows and delights as you become consumed by the symphony of flavors dancing in the mouth. On the finish, the uniqueness of this wines wraps it all together with its terroir shining through. This is where the beautiful barnyard, socks, truffled wet earth, and rich red marinated cherries, boysenberries, violettes, and eucalyptus flavors intermingle. Those magic moments with wine, the ones that change our lives, the "oh I get it now" first time experiences for some....this is one of those kinds of wines. It is with great regret that we say adieux to it, but the last bottle, truly was, the best.