Beaucastel Blanc VV Drinking windows

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Mike Humphreys, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. So I had been wondering about this before and since I opened up a 2013 VV in error and am drinking it wishing it had some age to it I got to looking at some recent and past vintages.

    Now we had an older vintage at a WiMPS dinner and it had deteriorated so how fragile and reliable are these wines at older ages. Some vintages seem to suggest (from reviews) of a shortish window.(10-12 years)

    Specifically the 1999 is this borderline ? The 2003, 2006 and 2007 look safer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  2. I think these fit in to the category of drink young or give them fifteen plus years. IIRC, they oxidise a bit in their primary school years and then come though it in late adolescence.
     
  3. Thanks. My thoughts were a 99 or 2003 should be ideal but started seeing shrinking window estimates by reviewers and it made me stop.
    The 2004 for example. WS has a general 2005-20 on it which actually was my gut feeling (maybe longer TBH).
    JS says 05-14, WA goes with 07-11

    If I’m buying one bottle you risk it and buy a few see how they are getting on but at £50 -£100 each in cases of 6 thought it may be prudent to ask general opinion and experience of the real life drinkers rather than reviewers guesses.
     
  4. My limited experience listed below, including 99 and 03. It’s a snapshot in time though, and who knows how representative the 99 was, of wine or cork.


    Posted from CellarTracker
     
    Jeff Warren likes this.
  5. To be honest, Mike, this and similar white rhones are probably the wines where the concept of "drinking window" runs out of steam. I'd be inclined to go with what Simon said in his earlier post, i.e. drink 'em young if you like them that way, or be prepared to shove them in the cellar for a good few years.

    There's no doubt that their intermediate phase can render them either rather characterless or oxidised-tasting. Sometimes I suspect the worst ones disappear into an oxidative hell-hole, never to return. But many or most do come back. So I'd treat the idea of drinking windows with caution and read the actual notes in order to calibrate where you think they might be.

    As always there will be counter-examples of everything.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
  6. I'd echo Ian's thoughts: figure out if you like them young or mature, as they're very different wines. The first one I had was the 2003 at five or six and it was magnificent. It's still a great wine but I think I prefer it as it was.
     
  7. Had both young (the 13 in fact and mature at a BI Wines tasting (when they used to do them) back in 2014 I recall. The 13 was stunning and I preferred it to the mature example (forgot which vintage). If I bought these I would not buy to cellar, but then I have not had a fantastic ages example.
     
  8. Great so no windows, no general themes except can be drunk young or old but not in the middle :)

    Actually really useful guys thanks. I think the cellarteacker notes will be used a bit to get a few more opinions. I wanted to ask here to get a general gauge or warnings if you like.
    The 13 to me felt very restrained and still a bit warm and edgy on the finish but being 5 years in it may be closed down somewhat.
    Had a lovely feel to it and enjoyed it enough.

    I’ll grab a few different older years and see how I get on.
    Thanks.
     
  9. The other slightly fascinating thing I learnt while doing a bit of research was Tablas Creek which is Robert Haas developed on actual cuttings from beaucastel I believe.
    Sounds very interesting at a fair price.
     
  10. Never a big buyer for this reason. No risk when young- full bodied with obvious but delicious creamy oak. But getting it right when older the odds drop off enormously. If you didn't like a showing, give another 2,3 years at least and try again would be my bet. The 90 at 15 with fresh pan fried foie gras remains one of the fest food combos I've ever experienced.
     
  11. This thread inspired me to search my white wine rack. I have a Beaucastel Blanc 1990 (just the standard cuvee). Have I missed its moment? Or is there hope it might be OK?
     
  12. Could be glorious. But there's only one way to find out!
     
  13. The only VV I've had was the '98 about 4-5 years ago and it was a candidate for my best white wine of the year. It was my only bottle so who knows whether it was ever in the oxidised phase?

    I've had a few non-VV Beaucastel blancs over the years and find its aging curve frustratingly difficult to predict. The last we drank was a '92 about a year ago, which was way past its best (maybe it had been good when young, then entered the oxidised phase, then became mature before declining as any wine eventually will; '92 was not a bad year for white Rhone, as it was for red).

    Tablas Creek is delicious and it'll age nicely for 10+ years.
     
  14. Thanks all. I’ve got a case of 04 and 06 to try and lined up a few Tablas Creek bottles which will be fascinating.
     
  15. Going to try the 06 and 11 tonight in a tasting of Marsanne and Roussanne from Northern and Southern Rhone, with a couple of Ch Tahbilk thrown in for good measure. Should be good!
     
  16. @Ken

    What?? The tasting's been moved to tonight? I must have been missed from the notification as no one told me...currently en route to London...hope it goes well and sorry to miss.
     
  17. Would have liked that. Only tasting I get is having to buy cases !!
     
  18. @Matthew: don't know how that happened, sorry you will miss it

    Will report back. Some other goodies to be tried as well, inc Chave 99
     
  19. Enjoy it Ken. Am sure I won't die of thirst.
     
  20. Well, the 2010 (a late sub for the 11) was Wotn at last night's Marsanne/Roussanne tasting in Bristol. And by a country mile. Precise, vivid, refreshing and still very youthful. The 06 also impressed but seemed a quite different wine. Much more evolved, with a hint of ox. For me, it resembled a Chapoutier St Jo la Granite 07, even if that was predominantly Marsanne. The Chave 99 tasted like Manzanilla, though some defenders claimed that was exactly how it should have been. Ch Tahbilk 08 and 09 were not at all out of place and showed really well.
     
    Alex Lake likes this.
  21. Coincidentally I visited Beaucastel recently and discussed this question with them.

    Their informal advice was largely as I had thought myself: drink in first 5-7 years or wait 15-20 from vintage date. In between those times, results can be quite random; they have apparently asked a lot of scientists to help them to understand the oxidative phase and the recovery from it, but don’t fully understand it, apart from the pattern is pretty consistent.

    A winemaker elsewhere who has very ageworthy whites commented in passing that he thought the Beaucastel whites were more reliable for long term aging in the last 10-15 years. Indeed, maybe or maybe not related, Beaucastel are now holding back whites for potential future library releases, I believe.
     
  22. So both of them in the "do not drink" window...
     
  23. All part of the mystery!
     
  24. So in amongst my oddments, “I’m not sure when and why” rack, there’s a Pegau Blanc 2005. So is this in which phase, and any good?
     
  25. Well thanks for all the advise. First one has turned up and I’m not sure about it.
    2004 VV, need of let it warm up a bit but really dark colour, smell of stewed apples and raisins but has that fortified element like an Sherry / Madeira type . Very different to the only one other old one I tried and that was shot. This looks quite dark to me.

    image.jpg
     

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