Bottled only a week before my visit, I was blown away by how well Beaucastel's 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape was showing. It's full-bodied, creamy, lush and rich, with layers of raspberry fruit, garrigue and spice that unfold across a seamless palate. No doubt it will go through cycles of being open and closed throughout its lifespan, but it would be a mistake to simply order a case, put it into storage and forget about it without trying one first and swooning over the sheer lusciousness and youthful complexity.
This storied property continues to hit on all cylinders. Marc Perrin describes 2017 as "a 'Californian' kind of vintage," but also says, "It's amazing how balanced the wines are. Across the board, these are the best pair of vintages since 89/90. I love the balance … and the best word for 2016 is purity. I don't think we've done a better vintage since I'm part of it." Certainly, the wines are breathtaking at the upper levels, but the Perrin family continues to put effort into the entry-level wines as well, from the Coudelet de Beaucastel, which is always one of the top Côtes du Rhône wines, to the other wines reviewed under the Famille Perrin heading.
Being bottled the day of my visit, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape checks in as a blend of 30% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and the rest a mix of permitted varieties. It offers a ripe, sexy, rounded style that quickly shows more structure, minerality, and tannin with time in the glass. Blackberries, blueberries, smoked earth, violets, and garrigue all give way to a full-bodied, deep, structured Beaucastel that's going to benefit from 5-7 years of bottle age and keep for two decades. It reminds me of the 2001.