Robert Parker 92
The blockbuster 2007 Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet, always one of the best bargains from the south, may be the finest Coudoulet ever produced. A blend of 30% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, and the rest Syrah, Cinsault, and a few other authorized varietals, is incredibly opulent and rich, with sensational notes of black currants, licorice, smoked herbs, and meat juices, a full-bodied mouthfeel, savory tannins, and good acidity as well as length. This outstanding wine can be drunk now or cellared for 10-15 years. One of the great estates of the Rhone Valley, Chateau Beaucastel has been run by several generations of the Perrin family, beginning with the late Jacques Perrin (who died in 1978), then the brothers Jean-Pierre and Francois, and now their sons Thomas, Marc, Pierre, and Mathieu. Beaucastel has nearly 200 acres in vine in Chateauneuf du Pape, and they have branched out with an impressive operation under the Perrin et Fils label, purchasing grapes and acquiring land (in Vinsobres and Gigondas, for example). Their goal is to become the most recognized name for high quality wines in the southern Rhone. As shrewd consumers know, one of the best values in under $10 a bottle wine is La Vieille Ferme. The Perrin et Fils cuvees include wines made from purchased grapes as well as their new acquisitions in Vinsobres, Gigondas (25 acres), and the Cotes du Rhone village of Cairanne (35 acres). The Perrins enjoyed tremendous success with their 2008 red wines, largely because yields ranged between 18 hectoliters per hectare for Beaucastel, to only 20 hectoliters per hectare for Coudoulet. The mildew that affected everyone was the culprit. The entire family acknowledged there was an extraordinary triage and culling out of the grapes at the sorting tables. Importer: Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL; tel. (205) 980-8802
Anticipated maturity: 2009-2024
Dense ruby. Sexy aromas of black raspberry, creme de cassis, underbrush and licorice. Supple and quite suave, with palate-coating dark berry flavors. Spicy and sweet on the finish, with the berry and licorice notes repeating. This fruit bomb will be delicious young.