I visited St James's the other day to taste through the 2016 wines from the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel. And it's quite a tasting, since besides the famed Châteauneuf estate the Perrins have interests throughout the Rhône Valley (at least in the south), as well as at Tablas Creek in CA.
I was smitten by the reds of this vintage. I must say that, generally speaking, my palate quickly tires when presented with the normal, broad, uber-ripe and alcoholic Grenache-based wines of the southern Rhône. I now very rarely drink Châteauneuf-du-Pape at home; most often I prefer something rather more demure.
However, these '16s are something else. Super-pure, direct, fresh and clear-voiced, these are some of the loveliest young Châteaneuves (?) I can remember tasting.
In addition, I was struck by two other wines, both from the same commune of Vinsobres. Vinsobres has vineyards at altitude and here Perrin grows more Syrah. The wines this year were staggeringly classy, with the entry level wine offering, IMO, extreme value.
My issue is that if I buy under bond UK the wines are sub-economic. It's just not worth penning an offer. And if we go to the estate to collect the wines, we need to buy a certain volume to make the collection fee worthwhile.
All this is by way of asking for a show of hands. If you are interested in buying these wines, could you please let me know. N.B. I give details of four red wines below, but can supply the whites and other reds in the range. Just inquire.
2016 Vinsobres Les Cornuds, Famille Perrin
£93 in bond a dozen Drink 2018-22
There's a clay-like note to the subtle dark fruit aromas that are all a touch rooty and a bit closed. The palate is beautifully rich and quickly fresh. This is a big wine of sizeable structure that gains steadily in intensity. A very mineral thing, this. This is a star. What a finish!
2016 Vinsobres Les Hauts de Julien, Famille Perrin
£201 in bond a dozen Drink 2019-26
Domestic blueberry aromas are a touch creamy and edged with jus de viande. The palate is rich on entry, plush even, and quickly dominated by fruit of fresh raspberries. A long wine, tacky with rich nutty tannins. And another wine with the most stunning finish.
2016 Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Château de Beaucastel
£150 in bond a dozen Drink 2019-25
I can smell flowers, both fresh and dried and the red and black fruits sauvagesnuanced by aromas of wild herbs. The palate starts all creamy-fresh Grenache, then very fine tannins leak into the experience. A linear wine that gains in intensity throughout. This is mineral juice through to yet another fabulous finish.
2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château de Beaucastel
£243 in bond per 6 Drink 2022-35
It's a floral scent that first meets the taster, followed by very pure aromas, a touch creamy, of damson and plum and the sweet spice. This is elegant across the tongue; mineral, with piquant-fresh tannin. A long and juicy wine...and a very, very fine thing indeed.
Email caspar[at]boweswine.co.uk if interested in these wines.