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Coudoulet de Beaucastel

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__Coudoulet de Beaucastel Red__

Château de Beaucastel is located five kilometres south-east of Orange at the northern limit of the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation. The 30 hectares Coudoulet de Beaucastel vineyard lies just to the east of Beaucastel on the other side of the A7 autoroute. For reasons that will become evident, it is often referred to as a baby Beaucastel. When one looks at the geology of the soil at Coudoulet, the similarities with 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 provide a head start to the vines 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 allows the vineyard to come through periods of drought with few problems. Because 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 Beaucastel, owes its ability to age to the high proportion of Mourvedre - about 30% - that makes up the final cuvée. This provides a tannic backbone and resistance to oxidation that ensures long life. In addition, Mourvedre introduces aromas of leather, tobacco, and spice to the blend. One should note also that the Beaucastel and Coudoulet vineyards are at the northern limit for growing Mourvedre, and it is well known that the best expressions of any varietal come from the cooler parts 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. Maceration takes place in enamel tiled vats over about 12 days before the free-run wine is taken off and a light pneumatic pressing applied. Each grape variety is kept separately until after malo-lactic 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.

__Area of production__

Côtes du Rhône, adjoining the vineyard of Château de Beaucastel between Orange and Avignon. The Coudoulet vineyard is 30 hectares / 60 acres in size.


Miocene marine molasses with a layer of alpine diluvium (rounded pebbles).

__Grape varieties__

Grenache 30%, Mourvèdre 30%, Syrah 20%, Cinsault 20%.


Hand picked harvest and sorted grapes which are then heated briefly to 30°C / 176°F before being cooled to 20°C / 68°F. Maceration in enamel tiled vats for twelve days. The juice is then drained off the rest pressed pneumatically.


The different grape varieties, which have been vinified separately, are blended together after malo-lactic fermentation and matured for six to eight months in large oak barrels. The wine is bottled after fining with egg whites.

__Tasting notes__

Colour: bright and lively, with great depth.
Nose: red fruits.
Palate: Luscious, with hints of thyme.

Last edited on 8/4/2010 by Eric

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