Today’s WoW, Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes-du-Rhône 2009 from the Southern Rhone in France, is a great wine to have on hand this holiday season. While it may cost a bit more ($29.95 at the LCBO), it’s worth every penny, and your wine-loving friends will definitely be pleased with your choice.
Coudoulet de Beaucastel
Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes-du-Rhône is made by Chateau de Beaucastel, one of the leading properties of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and is often referred to as a baby Beaucastel. The thirty hectares of vines that grow the Coudoulet de Beaucastel grapes are located directly to the east of Chateau de Beaucastel, and just outside the Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC boundary, hence the labelling as Côtes-du-Rhône. These vineyards have the same rounded stones, or ‘galets’, covering them as the vineyards of Beaucastel’s top Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine, which retain the heat of the Mediterranean sun and then slowly release this heat during the night. The ‘galet’ stones also give the vineyards a head start in the springtime.
As with Chateau de Beaucastel’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine, Coudoulet is dominated by Mourvedre and Grenache, at approximately 30% each. The high percentage of Mourvedre contributes a firm tannic backbone and helps prevent oxidation, increasing the wine’s ability to age. The Grenache provides a rounded texture and rich fruit flavours. Syrah and Cinsault each make up about 20% of the blend and bring added complexity and structure to the wine.
All the grapes are hand-harvested and sorted to ensure only perfectly ripe and healthy grapes were used in the wine. Each variety is fermented separately and blending takes place after malolactic fermentation. After blending, the wine is aged for 6 to 8 months in large oak barrels.
Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes-du-Rhone 2009 is a beautiful dark ruby colour showing quite intense and complex aromas of dark raspberries, red plums, ripe blackberries, baking spice, ground white pepper, and a pretty, dried lavender floral note. It’s plush and ripe with soft, silky tannins and flavours of dried herbs, potpourri, spicy dark fruit, and a meaty, earthy character. The alcohol is warming, but balanced. It’s very approachable and delicious right now, but will cellar well for at least 5 to 7 years, probably more. It calls out for a roasted rack of lamb with rosemary and garlic.