Château de Beaucastel
Rhône Valley, France
red and white wines
In 1321, Pope John XXII sent barrels from his cellar to be filled with the new wine from his estate near Avignon. It was the start of a legacy and one of the most famous appellations in French wine, Châteuneuf du Pape.
Today these vines in the Southern Rhône Valley, the ground beneath them covered in the signature rounded pebbles of the region, produce some of the most famous wines in the world. And among them, the wines of Château de Beaucastel are considered some of the very finest.
The first mention of the estate dates to 1549, when Pierre de Beaucastel is recorded as buying a plot of land at a place called Coudoulet. The domain remained in family hands until 1909, when it was transferred to Pierre Perrin who had married into the family. One of the most esteemed winemaking families in France, they would lead the estate to the fame and respect it commands worldwide to this day. Core to this success has been an unwavering commitment to respecting the soil and the wider environment that contribute to this unique terroir. As such, the Perrin family have long been pioneers in sustainable viticulture, adopting organic farming in 1950 and biodynamics in 1974. The gnarled, old vines are planted in the traditional style referred to as 'gobelet'. Of the 130 hectares at the estate, only 100ha are ever planted with vines, with the remaining 30ha allowed to rest and recover for at least a decade before being planted with vines once more. At harvest time, all of the grapes are handpicked and then sorted at the winery to ensure only the very best are vinified. In keeping with the winemaking traditions of the region, all 13 permitted varieties are used, each bringing its character, aroma and individuality to the final blend. The art of blending so many different varieties is a particular family secret, passed down from generation to generation.
There are five wines produced at Château de Beaucastel, two red and three white. Undoubtedly the most famous of them all is the red Châteauneuf du Pape, which regularly attracts high scores from the wine world's most prestigious critics and publications. Visitors to the region are welcome to book a visit to this great domain and experience for themselves the pinnacle of Châteauneuf, a wine region that has entranced everyone from Popes to gourmands for centuries.