Calgary Wine Life: Thomas Perrin Beaucastel Component Tasting

23 02 2016

FullSizeRender-242I’m having myself a bit of a tasting month here.  A week after sitting down to some incredible 50, 51 and 52 year old Taylor Fladgate Ports, I was treated to one of the most memorable experiences of my wine life:  a chance to taste through the individual varietal component wines of the unparalleled Chateau de Beaucastel with proprietor Thomas Perrin, the first time such a tasting had ever been held in Alberta.  Beaucastel is the legendary estate of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the top region in France’s Southern Rhone Valley and the first area declared to be an Appellation d’Origine Controllee (AOC – now Appellation d’Origine Protegee, or AOP) in 1936, known for producing rich, dense and complex reds and whites of remarkable quality and longevity.  The Perrin family has owned Beaucastel for over 100 years, having purchased it shortly after most of the vineyards were ravaged by the phylloxera louse and just before the scourge of World War I. Two wars, 100 hectares and five generations later, Thomas Perrin and his family members carry on the legacy of the Chateau and the Perrin name.

Beaucastel’s winemaking philosophy was created and entrenched largely by Thomas’ grandfather Jacques Perrin, whose name graces the estate’s top wine, Hommage a Jacques Perrin, released only in top years.  The elder Perrin converted the entire estate to organic viticulture back in 1962, when almost nobody would even have known what that meant and the prevailing wisdom pushed hard the opposite way, toward the increased use of vineyard chemicals and pesticides.  Chateauneuf-du-Pape permits the use of an astounding 13 different grape varietals, 14 if you count the white version of Grenache (reds – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Vaccarese; whites – Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, Picpoul, Bourboulenc, Picardin), which is way more than your standard high-end rigid French appellation; Beaucastel makes a special point of using them all, white and red, in every vintage of its CNDP release.  They plant, harvest, vinify and mature each varietal separately, as each has a different growth curve and ripeness window, but in all cases they aim to tell the harmonious story of grape, soil, climate and region, of terroir, in their wines.

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Wine Review: 2009 Owen Roe Abbot’s Table

7 06 2011

Great label, insane blend, great wine.

From delicate Old World white to bold New World red in the span of a day!  This wine gives new meaning to the term “red blend”: it’s comprised of (wait for it) 25% Zinfandel, 20% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 7% Blaufrankisch, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec and 1% Merlot.  I feel like that should add up to 250%…I can buy into the use of the first 5 grapes, but I think the last 4 are just for showing off.  Unsurprisingly, this info is left off the label, as it must prove abjectly terrifying to most consumers (including me).  The precise blend for the Abbot’s Table changes every year, and with this many grapes involved, the focus of the producer must be to create a wine that’s of a similar style and flavour profile every year rather than one that’s reflective of one or two particular varietals.  And I have to say, even if it takes nine different grapes from disparate world wine regions to make it happen, the end result is quite worthwhile. Read the rest of this entry »








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