Times are very good in Chateauneuf-du-Pape (CNDP), the 2017 vintage is the third consecutive banner year, maybe the finest run of great vintages in its long history. The 2016s rightly draw comparison in the Southern Rhone to the magnificent defining 1982 Bordeaux vintage, with ample production and stellar quality. The 2017 vintage, saw rain and heatwaves, in an otherwise superb growing season. Poor fruit set caused a 50% reduction in Grenache. However, the grapes were harvested early, the berries small and concentrated, producing superb wines, yet greatly reducing yields. This is great news in terms of quality, however, with demand ever growing for leading CNDP, the fall in supply will result in prices rising.

Today we release our first 2017 from Rhone, the truly great Beaucastel! It has already been awarded 95-97 points from Joe Czerwinski of the Wine Advocate, who says, A tremendous effort, might Beaucastel’s 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape outshine even the 2016?.. It’s rich and concentrated yet silky and lithe, with a fantastically long, elegant finish.’ Jeb Dunnuck, from whom Czerwinski took over at the Wine Advocate, has aligned perfectly, also scoring it 95-97 points, once again drawing comparison to the 2016; ‘Production is down 40%, but this brilliant wine is certainly in the same league as the 2016.’ Indeed, the 2017 vintage is being compared to the 2007, again one of the finest recent CNDP vintages.

The 2017 is likely to receive the same score as the 2007 of 96 points, which trades today at £360 per case of six. Today’s release of the 2017 is £240 per case of six which gives it a Price over Points ratio (POP) of 30, incredibly low for a leading wine. We recommend the 2017 highly, any Rhone lover should be encouraged to stock up, owning the 2016 and 2017 will be a magical pair for many years to come. That said, with production down, we have limited availability. Production maxes out at 8,000 cases and in 2017 this is significantly reduced.

BeaucastelWAJeb DunnuckPrice (6×75)

The Estate was transformed in 1903 by a young chemical engineer named Pierre Perrin, who with his father-in-law returned it to past glories after the region was atrophied by phylloxera. Jacques Perrin drove it forward in the 1950s by introducing new technologies and innovations. Today the vineyard continues to be treated with wonderful care: minimal sulphur is permitted and no chemical fertilizers or weed killers are used. They vinify in large old barrels (foudres) and only the Syrah is exposed to new oak. The Estate has a bright future as Jacques sons, Jean-Pierre and François Perrin, continue to balance tradition with innovation.

The blend is a heady mix of the famous CDNP grapes, 30% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise and 5% Cinsault, balanced with other varietals. Their Mourvedre is grown on almost one third of their land and is arguably the best example of this grape anywhere in the world. The vineyard is situated at the North-Eastern end of the appellation, a short walk from the famous town of Orange. The Estate has remarkable terroir, abounded by rolling pebbles on the surface, the subsoil contains an abundance of clay, which perfectly retains the vines’ water supply during the long hot summer days.

In addition to Beaucastel, we are pleased to be able to offer the second wine, Coudoulet de Beaucastel. This is a well-kept secret in the wine business, due to its exceptional price tag, which is more akin to its Cotes du Rhone appellation. However, it is vastly superior to this, a virtuoso second wine which derives from high quality fruit, that is taken from low yielding vines, nearby to the great property itself. It spends six-month ageing in foudre and finds its way into those in the know. Coudoulet is priced at £150 per case of 12 in 2017, yet awarded 91-93 points from the Wine Advocate. This gives it a POP score of 12.5, the lowest we have ever seen, offering remarkable value. Indeed, the POP score is the same as the bottle price £12.50, such harmony of numbers.

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