Wine of the week was a delight - from a mixed case of villages 2007 Rhone wines. It was Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2007 (about £15-£17 a bottle, at Berry Bros.), the second wine of the esteemed estate Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Papes. It is on land that is just outside the boundary of the famous wine (in fact it is the other side of the A7!) and the soil is not that different. The high proportion of Mourvedre - about 30% - gives a strong backbone to the wine, and in a great vintage (oh I am excited about the better 2007's now!) when combined with Grenache, the wine is infused with aromas of leather, tobacco and spice, and rich fullness of fruit. For years this has been a 'hidden bargain'. Alas no more -but still excellent value. And if you don't agree with me - listen to Robert Parker, who gave this wine a 91/92 score (which usually adds about 20% to the price) and said '..may be Beaucastel’s finest example of this wine since they first introduced it in 1978....this sumptuous, deep ruby/purple-tinged Coudoulet exhibits notes of smoky blackberries, roasted meats, incense, licorice, and underbrush. Opulent, sexy, and full-bodied, with abundant tannin, structure, freshness, and precision, this glorious wine should be purchased by the case when released in early 2009.
Spot on, Robert!
ps photo is from Beaucastel's website, of the famous stones or 'galets' that soak up the sun and radiate it back at night to the vines, hence lengthening the ripening season