A disappointing evening of Beaucastel 1995 - 2005.

Snooth.
Tasted Monday, January 21, 2013 by BradKNYC with 356 views

Introduction

Greg dal Piaz invited a few folks to the Snooth offices last night for a 1995 - 2005 Beaucastel vertical. Greg supplied most of the wine, though a few of us contributed some bottles to the cause and to help limit the hit to his cellar. Unfortunately, the wine gods were angry and on a rampage as we were cursed with an inordinate number of wines that were damaged, or did not show to their full potential. Regardless of how most of the wines showed, many thanks to Greg for his generosity. It should be noted that at least nine of the ten wines were purchased on release. I'm unsure what the story is with the '03.

Flight 1 (10 Notes)

  • 1995 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Flawed

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    First bottle was corked, a backup bottle was heat damaged.

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  • 1996 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Flawed

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Corked.

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  • 1997 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Shows an interesting nose that's full of red fruit, light spice, pine and green olives. I was never a real fan of this vintage on release and, indeed, the wine is showing some faults such as a bit of a hollow mid-palate and is overall is a bit simple and light, but there's a pretty core of raspberry fruit with nice, spice, herb and smoky wood, but not in a harsh way. More like the smoky warmth from a fireplace. Nicely softened, but a bit drying on the finish. B+.

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  • 1998 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    One of the wines I was most eager to try given reports over its premature decline over the past few years, which have been borne out in the last two bottles I've tried. Unfortunately, this bottle continues the trend of underperforming bottles. On release and for the next nine years, this was one of my favorite Beaucastels of all time, right up there with the '81, '89 and '90. It had a noticeable thickness to he texture, was loaded with fruit, but was balanced nicely. This bottle, along with the past couple, no longer show that wonderful texture. The wine has lost weight, the black fruit shows a more roasted character and there just aren't as many layers as there used to be on the nose, or palate. While still quite pleasant, it's just a shadow of what it used to be. B+/A-.

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  • 1999 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Like the '97, I was never a big fan of this on release. It has a higher percentage of Mourvedre this vintage, which would normally be a plus for me, but I've always felt this wine was just too lean. This bottle still has that leanness, but with the softness that comes from time, so it's not as objectionable, though the wine could certainly benefit from some more flesh to help balance out the acidity and some of the hardness. Still, while softened, the bottle is showing relatively youthfully and fresh. Some pleasant red fruit with leather, spice, earth and game flavors with a hit of aged tobacco. The Italian wine lovers in the group enjoyed the leanness and austerity more than I did. While I liked it, like a Williamsburg hipster, it's a wine that takes itself a little too seriously. Low A-..

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  • 2000 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Maybe it was the downer mood we were in given how poorly so many of the wines showed already, but while tied for my favorite wine of the night, this bottle didn't show quite as well as others I've had, coming across as a bit more simple than usual, with the alcohol maybe sticking out a touch, though I blame the bottle being a little warmer than it should've been for that. It shows a friendly, easy going and open personality as it always does with plenty of sweet red raspberry, spice and light meat notes. Not one you really think about, but just pop, pour and enjoy. Solid A-.

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  • 2001 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Flawed

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Heat damaged and it should be noted that it had a grey market label on it. A real shame as this vintage is one of my favorites and I was looking forward to checking in on it.

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  • 2003 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Shows the thick texture and plush mouthfeel that the '98 used to have, but is more red fruited than black fruited and is ultimately rather unbalanced, with the alcohol sticking out way too much and the fruit being a bit one-dimensional. While relatively low in acidity, there is more than I expected. Finish is short and a bit flat. Serviceable, but that's about it and certainly not worth the tariff. B.

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  • 2004 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Flawed

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Corked.

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  • 2005 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Whoah! What happened here? Brett bomb city and completely surprising given how Beaucastel cleaned up with the '95. This was seriously Bretty at the onset, as in '83, '85 Bretty, both on the nose and palate. Thankfully, with air, the band-aid and poop aromas subsided to reveal a tightly coiled wine that exhibited beautiful balance and savory red fruit, game and spice flavors and aromas. Nice persistence to the wine across the palate and with extended air it took on a distinct coffee note, which seemed a bit unusual. I've had better showings, but this tied with the '00 for my WOTN. Solid A-.

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