Anybody who is always concerned and nervous about drinking windows (like me), I can tell you that the 85 Beaucastel is drinking very well right now, with no signs of declining. The color was beautiful, resembling a mature red burgundy with its cloudy, red orange composition. The nose was classic Beaucastel, but the finish was silky, clean and long. Blind, I might have even said Burgundy. An excellent example of Beaucastel in my opinion (Red Burgundy lovers go and buy this wine).
Souper chez Christophe Cardonna: Malheureusement, cette bouteille issue d'un millésime précoce ne montrait plus que l'ombre du beau vin que fut le 1985. Il a encore une belle texture ronde et voluptueuse mais montre des signes d'oxydation. Dommage.
From an well-stored bottle with a very high fill. Surprisingly fresh tasting with mature soft tannins and a Rhone-like finish (usual hints of cherry, etc). Silkier mouthfeel and more balanced than most vintages of Beaucastel that I've had. Only a slightly shorter finish than I'd like holds it back from a higher score (and a more intense experience).
A bit of a low fill, but the cork pulled clean with a satisfying pop. Translucent, slight orange tint, and some tiny flakes of sediment remained suspended after decanting. Nose and palate very clean, still fresh, nary a smidgeon of Brett. Masculine profile, but a restrained, graceful one of leather, cigar, blood, and iron. What fruit remained was pure and clean. Good energy and length with fully resolved tannins. Beautiful. Drunk at Troquet Boston.
Popped and poured, and proceeded to drink over the next two hours at a wine bar. Cork came out intact (thankfully), although fully soaked. The sommelier did a great job. Medium reddish purple, yet darker than I would have expected - was expecting a light claret. Left long legs in the glass. Barnyard on the nose like a St. Julian Ch. Talbot. Became less gamey and fuller on the nose as time went on. Calmed down considerably two hours after opening. Fruit is almost all gone and replaced by saddle leather and tobacco - very masculine. Nicely complemented the Iberico pork and grilled vegetables served alongside. Surprisingly alcoholic for such an old CNDP, and much more than I would have expected from a Beaucastel of this age. Huge mouthfeel and very long tail. I was worried they this wine would be past its prime, but it's still going strong. Overall the tannins have resolved themselves, but some yet remain, so this one may be good for quite a few more years. These Beaucastel can go this distance.
Dinner at home with Mrs L, PH, VK and Ms C (At home): Now this is one CDP I can drink a ton of. Beautiful nose of vibrant red fruit, dried spice and mineral. Medium bodied on the palate with gently melted tannins and only a faint trace of alcohol which provides just that tiny edge of sweetness in the finish. A fine and absolutely delicious example of mature CDP. (PS this came right out of the wine fridge and was served slightly cold at around 16 degrees C, but I thought for a hot summer evening this was perfect.)
Opened because the bottle was showing slight leakage. Was afraid it would be long past prime, however, it was in wonderful condition. Fully resolved, in a perfect drinking window. Bloody, irony, garrigue and nice balanced fruit and acidity. Totally enjoyable.
This bottle was a recent release from the Chateau and in perfect condition. Great nose of spice, strawberry, meat and cedar. With all the spice, blind I would have thought this was a full Romanee St Vivant based on the nose. On the palate more meaty tones with background of bright strawberry and spice. Nice minerality and a medicinal note every now and then. Open, rich and smooth. Long detailed finish. Clearly the last bottle I had was not a good example of this wine.
Drank over 2 hours. Did not decant. Fully mature nose of flowers, red fruit and beef. A little angular on the palate and very bretty. The fruit was there and it was definitely enjoyable but perhaps this bottle was slightly off.
Dinner with 1985 Focus (Nopa Restaurant, San Francisco): Very robust medium red. A touch of funk but mostly a beacon of pure raspberry fruit. Medium weight, gorgeously preserved fruit with balancing acidity. Mindblowingly good right now and elegant; very unlike the more typical, dark, rugged, Mourvedre-based Beaucastel style. Much more like a great Grenache-based Chateauneuf, and it would have been fascinating to taste it next to Rayas and try to pick out which was which. Wonderful, at peak and quite a surprise. I wonder if the '98 will turn out like this.
Rhones 20+ Years Old (Western Chicago IL Suburbs): Tasted blind. Moderate amount of fruit balanced with very good earthy development. Still a bit tannic, supporting and providing weight and depth to the primary and secondary flavors. Group's favorite tonight, but middle of the pack for me.
Musty herbal nose that lacked freshness and seemed pretty awkward for a while before beginning a transformation into a classic Beaucastel. Wood, berry and spice appear first with licorice and leather emerging. Paired with food, this absolutely exploded becoming silky, juicier, sweeter, almost perfumy and a touch barny. Really sexy stuff.
From Magnum. Some funk upon opening, then backward and unrevealing. I was pretty worried about this for a while, but after an hour or so it started relaxing and opening up. Aromatics got intense, and the palate started showing some serious inner sweetness. As usual, it was all just about gone when it had fully bloomed. Gorgeous wine, and this vintage remains one of my favorite Beaucastels of all time.
I chose this '85 Beaucastel because the cork was emerging from the foil and was covered in mold. The wine had evaporated down to the shoulder so the bottle seemed at high risk for having turned. Besides that, the last bottle I had drunk in the late 90's seemed like it had lost some of its pizzazz from prior years.
Now that I've set the stage, let me say that this bottle proves the adage that appearances can be deceiving. I decanted the wine, but gave little time to breathe. The wine was younger looking than I had imagined it would be. Lots of fruit and very little bricking. Over the next hour, the wine has continued to improve. It has a rich and inky color and the CdP flavors (especially those unique to Beaucastel) are fully integrated and all showing well: cherry fruit, leather, tobacco, sweet earth, and the finish is delightfully long.
Ah, those were the good old days! I have one '85 left from the case at $14.99 per bottle I bought in 1988.
2010 Duck Dinner (Peter Pratt's Inn): From magnum. This wine is absolute rock star, a female rock star at that as it's a sexy beast of wine. Voluptuous and tempting, sexy and soft, yet big and brash. This was deep and complex and a complete wine from start to finish, nothing was lacking here at all. Great fruit, coffee, meat,earth, this ran the gamut of descriptors. Wonderful juice.
Medium garnet, much bricking. Lovely and clean nose of beef roast, cedar, menthol, leather, raspberry; less complex than tonight's '81 but cleaner. Delicate raspberry fruit among many mixed herbs, leather, cedar and tar flavors. Finishes a little acidic but long. Our last bottle and a beauty, the only Beaucastel vintage that we never saw go through a dumb stage, a real treat. From our last magnum, bottle # 2 of two.
light ruby-tawny - perfect clarity. On opening - earth, berries, raisins, leather and smoke. A touch of a tawney port character. There is a transparent clarity to the aroma which is enticing. Very complex in the mouth - still a lot of tannic structure. The wine is rich and complete but has a leanness which works well with food. Does not come across as old - although there is huge bottle age character. This wine is really long and shows no hint of drying out. The wine deepens with air and becomes richer. I could imagine this wine will age for another 25 years. Fabulous - Beaucastel is one of the great wines of France. A knockout with braised pork with porcini and juniper.
Beaucastel Vertical 81-01 (Gurnee IL, Jordan's house): nose: very tight off the bat and took a bit to get going with tones of black and red licorice, herbs, dark red fruits, red cherries, some liqueur tones and some good tones of leather balance it all out with really good depth and class on the nose
taste: good tannins and acidity still make their presence felt with good tones of red and black licorice, dark red fruits, leather, and liqueur tones. lovely medium feel that has a bit more weight then the 83 that was right next to it
overall: This took a bit to open up. Initially very tight, it had a very youthful feel to it that belied its age. Was hoping for more though as it seemed stuck in 3rd gear and didn't start to really take it to a higher level that I was hoping for
A beautiful jeweld ruby color, very floral and with darker fruits and more depth n the nose than the 83. An almost liqueur like dark cherry fruit, with blood, leather, and some sweet merde. Soft and rounder than the surrounding vintages. . A more coaxing and invite you in wine than upfront. A beautifully textured wine. I loved the depth and clarity of the dark fruit here. Really almost opulently textured. I loved this wine. Others less than I. 94 pts.
Brick red color. Clean with complex peppery bouquet. Well structured and rounded, silky tannins with plenty of red fruit and leather. Fresh acidity has kept it young and vivacious. Good balance and persistence on the back palate made this seductive medium bodied warm and spicy wine an excellent way of celebrating Friendship Day with a couple of close friends.
Not sure how to rate this since I don't have enough experience with bottles of this maturity. The label was quite worn but the bottle did come from a reputable restaurant cellar. Ullage was very good at high neck level. In the glass, a little amber color on the edges, but overall still youthful. Flavors, however, were all leather and some tobbaco with fruit in the background if there at all. Seemed to me that it held up well and still had the structure to go many more years, but not getting the fruit flavors that other recent posts suggest.
Tasting eight Rhones, first place. Lovely rich, fruity, young nose, more of the same on the palate, sweet, big, intense mouthfilling wine, long, long finish. Continued to improve during the entire three hours of the evening. Terrific wine tonight!!
Shared with friends at Nick's Italian Cafe in McMinnville, OR. The condition of the cork was scarey but the wine was terrific. The wine showed better with time in the glass. Showed ripe, black fruit, earthy notes. Very soft, round, and mature. I would suggest you decant for 45 minutes and drink up if you are holding any of these gems.
Drank at Michael restaurant in Winnetka, IL with a slow cooked pork, trumpet and hedgehog mushrooms. Initially opened and tight. Since this had been in the bottle for 20+years it needed time to open so when the pork arrived 30 minutes it was delicious. Full flavor, soft tannins and lasting on the palate. Excellent pairing. Drank for an hour before it began to fade. The IWC says to drink up to 2007 and I have two more bottles so I plan to try another in the fall.
Dinner at home (Seattle, WA): A bit of an oxidized note with some soy on the nose. The palate is a little tired but still hanging on, ripe, black fruited, tarry, very round and mature, very nice texture. Not a great bottle but pleasing enough.
verticale Beaucastel un nez de viande et de fruit frais, d'épices, c'est suave et peut-être le plus beau nez de la soirée. En bouche, il a une superbe fraicheur, un équilibre parfait, j'aurais pensé un vin de 10 ans plus jeune. Très beau Beaucastel, un adolescent, moins long et profond que le 1989, mais très beau. 92-93 pts
Tasting Group Dinner w/ Jeb Dunnuck (Heartland, St. Paul): Deep, youthful ruby color with little to no bricking. Deliciously funky, Mourvedre-laced nose. Pure black cherries, leather, and freshly chopped mushrooms. Rich, mid-weight, elegant fruit. Feminine finesse. Velvety texture, with well-resolved tannins. Another very tasty, clean example of this wine. Judging from this bottle, and others from this lot, the 85 Beaucastel seems to be at its peak of maturity, at least in 750ml format.
Dinner with Steve Sigmond and the Minneapolis group (Heartland Restaurant, St Paul, MN): Showing a youthful red color with some slight lightening at the edges, this has a beautiful Beaucastel funk nose with ripe raspberries, earth, leather, mushroom and sauvage notes. Perfumed, nuanced and complex, this held up wonderfully over the course of dinner and even gained intensity with air. The palate is medium bodied with a silky, almost seamless texture, nice balance and a medium length finish. Everything is perfectly integrated and this was drinking amazingly well. Awesome stuff.
Christmas Dinner (Mum and Dad's, UK): Medium red colour, clear. Nose was also clear with some fragrance. Palate had soft cherries and rasberries but silk texture was the highlight. Beautifuly developed and drinking so sweet.
Post Insignia Dinner at Siggy's: Popped and poured to sip on while cooking. The nose was outstanding -- giving cherry, earth, and barnyard. However, the barnyard is well balanced by the other aromas and actually produces a fairly clean-smelling nose. On the palate this is an awesome medium weight with beautiful flavors of bright red fruit, iron and mineral. Smooth and elegant. Flavors are a bit flat at mid-palate, but the finish is very strong. One of the better Beaucastels I've ever had.
Post-Insignia Burgundy Dinner (Our House): Medium maroon with some lightening at the rim. Dark red cherry fruit. Funky, mushroomy, and horsey -- more so than the two other bottles from this lot that I opened previously. Picks up nice mineral/iron notes on the midpalate. Medium-weight, evolved, great silky texture. Quite mature.
Two bottles recently acquired at auction. Intense red fruits (rhubarb, raspberry), earth, slight Mourvedre animal/funk, minerals, all unfolding in layers and waves on the palate. Beautifully balanced and mature. Well-developed secondary flavors, with fruit that is still electric. Gorgeous.
Ruby with a tawny rim. Nose screams "ripe raspberries", but I do find some garrigue and lavender to complicate the story. Medium bodied with sweet fruit, some drying tannins, hint of mushrooms. Really drinking very well for a 22-year old CDP!
After a week of travel, drinking almost exclusively white wines, a serious jones for a red Rhone came screaming home. Well that and WTF it's Wednesday.
A beautiful jeweled ruby with big legs. A light to medium color belied the wine's depth and structure. The nose was flat out beautiful right after pop and pour but developed over a couple of hours (so far). Strawberry jam, flowers, primarily sweet fruit with cherries, rhubarb, and strawberries, with more meaty and herbal notes after a couple of hours. On the mouth, medium to full bodied and absolutely a pointe. Still with some fine tannins and great balance. Plenty of fruit still. In fact at first mostly fruit with almost an essence of cherries and rhubarb. Like crystal pure fruit. More flowers with some meaty notes, along with a darkening of fruit after a couple of hours. Not a blockbuster sized wine, but multilayered and absolutely beautiful. A long smoky finish. This will not get better, but man what a great time to drink this wine. Right on!!! 94 pts.
Drank with braised veal shanks - as close to a perfect match as I've ever had. The '85 Beaucastel is showing beautifully at the moment. Wide open, with layers of earth / sous-bois, game, leather, blood and a deep, dark core of fruit and minerality. Fantastic.
Pre-Christmas Offline (Market Restaurant, Manchester): A stinky mourvèdre nose which promises very well and suggests this is going to be a gorgeous Beaucastel. The immediate thing that strikes me in the mouth is the feeling of maturity. Very restrained and really rather elegant. Precise, quite spicy fruit, with a definite quatre épices spiciness on the finish. Very, very long. Very Good Indeed.
Purchased at auction, with high shoulder fill, a capsule that didn't spin, but beautiful color.
For not much reason at all other than having meant to open this before too much longer, I stood up the bottle on Thursday evening, and opened it tonight, Sunday. Removed the capsule to find a layer of dried wine underneath. Cleaned off the cork. It came out in one piece, fully saturated. Not much nose. I let the bottle sit that way for about an hour. Still not much nose.
In the glass, ruby, dusty--not due to sediment, with visible bricking on the rim. Quite viscous looking in the glass.
With the first taste it was clear the wine was in very good shape. Tanins not quite fully resolved--still giving a bit of grip, with evident structure, but with an emphasis on sweet fruit, iron, minreral and wet stone flavors, balsamic, and others that I cannot adequately describe. Long finish, slightly dray (the way I like it), but overall the mouthfeel was rich and deep. I set aside about half the bottle for tomorrow, and expect it will hold well in a split in the fridge. An outstanding bottle.
I suspect this was a damaged bottle. Purchased from a collection, the cork was soaked through when pulled. Surprisingly light and thin, color was very light when I was pouring into the decanter. Nose of leather and earth, sweet fruit, but with a hard metallic taste throughout. This metallic edge subsided somewhat after 30 minutes, but never really went away. After three hours, the wine turned decidedly harder and acidic. Certainly did not live up to expectations.
we had this last night at Terra in St. helena- what a great wine- perfect condition with fill into the neck and the cork was in great shape- the wine is deep cherry/ruby red with no real hint of lightening- delicious nose with a hint of leather, cherry and spice. the wine was mature but seemed like it could have lasted a lot longer- it tasted of chocolate espresso, cinnamon, cherries, and pepper with cloves and herbs- what a wine- good balance and the tannins were soft and sweet. these chateauneufs can really age. i loved this wine.
It gave me a BIG smile on my face right through dinner. Nose of leather, licorice, dark berries and fruit, cassis...well you name it. Taste was great, just a lil tiny bit thin if I should nag about something.Packed with fruit and berries along with tar and pepper and licorice. LONG aftertaste.
Beaucastel Vertical (1978 - 1989) plus '82 & '83 La Chapelle (Washington, D.C.): Drunk as part of a lineup that included the '78,'81,'83,'88, and '89 (see TNs) as well. All wines bought on release and stored in a passive basement cellar since. The group seemed torn between the '81 and the '85 for WOTN. All I have to say is that the '85 is giving it all up right now. Absolutely in its prime - although, I could see it moving in the direction of the gorgeous '78 over the next few years, and some might prefer that stage of development. The bouquet of the '85 just leaps from the glass. Deep and earthy - tobacco, leather, sous-bois and licorice. Great balance. It does not have the size of the '81 or '89. Darker fruit than the '88. The '85 is such a great, typical example of mature Beaucastel. Note: This bottle of '85 Beaucastel was much more open and expressive than a bottle of '85 Pegau I tried last year which was clearly at an earlier stage of development and, although fantastic, still probably needs a few years before it really cracks open and reveals its full potential...
I was very concerned when I removed the capsule because there were obvious signs of leakage. Despite that the wine is in glorious shape. The color is quite dark with only a hint of orange on the rim. The nose shows classic aged Cdp with crushed cherries, smoke, and a slight hint of horse. It also has more minerality than I usually find. The palate is well integrated with air is picking up more and more weight. I find tastes of very sweet cherries, minerality, and some smoke. It lacks a bit of depth and complexity, but it is a very pleasing drink.
Tremendous elegance and finesse and purity, with a piercing bouquet of crushed flowers and the perfect hint of brett that meshes with the fruit. I don't know why anyone drinks Beaucastel young, as this wine has transformed into something wonderful.
I have just loved this bottle in the past, so I am surprised with this bottle tonight. It was still very dark reddish with no browning on the rim, and very clear. Decanted off the sediment, and brought the temp up to 65F. It is the aromatics, while not off, were subdued.On the pallette a dark red cherry, black pit and roasted garguire taste, silky smooth mouthfeel that when down effortlessly. No tannins. Very cool and integrated. The length was also a bit disappointing. This was tasted using the Sommelier Grand Cru Burgundy glasses, which I ususally prefer for Beau, but maybe to much air for this vintage in the late stages of its career. Bottle was pristine, coming direct ex-cellars in 1994 and stored at 55 ever since.
Maybe it was the grilled steak which was too much for it?
Dinner at La Pointe at the Wickaninish Inn in Tofino. It is always dicey ordering an old and expensive bottle from a wine list, but this bottle looked very nice so what the heck. The cork had a lot of black mold on top and was wet to the top and awful smelling. I was worried. However, the Sommeliere did a great job decanting, and the lovely aromatics showed the wine to be sound. An initial bouquet of dried herb and lavender opened up to show dusty, sweet cherry, tar, licorice, and pine needle. The palate wasn't explosive, but it made up for it with silky mouthfeel and not a hard edge to be found. At first the wine seemed a little dilute on the front-palate and finish, but with some air it filled out very nicely. Tons of dried herbs and cherry fruit typified this medium weight wine. The wine sipped very well on its own but was at its best when matched with braised short rib. Very enjoyable.