2004 Vignoble de le Serriere Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Red Blend •Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC
What we say
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Mission Codename: Southern Harmony
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a limited allocation of a delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Château Beauchene
Wine Subject: 2004 Vignoble de le Serriere – Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge
Winemaker: Michel Bernard
Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CDP) is among this spy’s favorite Rhone wines. With each wine being a distinct blend of up to 13 different varietals (usually lead off with Grenache, France’s work-horse grape, with the trend leading to more Syrah and Mourvedre based blends). The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape dates back to the 14th century during the time of the dual papacy.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes in two distinct styles, the more traditional ’Old World’ (like this one) are dark, rich and spicy with firm tannins that lend these wines to cellaring; and the more contemporary fruit-forward style more reminiscent of New World wines.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet with dark purple hues and deep dark clear core with ruby and brick orange edges. Alternating fast and slow thin legs ring the glass when swirled.
Smell – Bold and well developed bouquet of dusty wild red fruit including ripe wild raspberry layered over aromas of spice, oak, licorice with hints of lavender and black pepper.
Feel – The initial attack of this wine has a distinct dry but smooth minerality. Fine firm tannins and easy acidity add to the well developed character of this full-bodied wine.
Taste – Complex flavors of ripe red raspberry, blackberry, a hint of prunes that are well balanced with licorice, spice, earth and a touch of smokey oak. A tart-spice component hits you at the back of the palate with a touch of black pepper.
Finish – This wine finishes long with lingering tart and ripe fruit with a touch of spice.
Conclusion – The 2004 Château Beauchene Vignoble de le Serriere is a classic old-world Châteauneuf-du-Pape that will please both lovers of the style as well as those more familiar with the new-world GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blends. Bold but also complex with well developed and integrated flavors of fruit, spice, earth and oak. This is a wine that invites contemplation and exploration but is also easy to drink. Be sure to decant or let this wine breathe for about an hour to fully reveal its character.
Dateline: July 18, 2008.
Location: Nimes, France, near the Rhône Valley
Agent Terroir had done an exceptional job of getting me to see a few of the great mountain finishes on this year’s Tour de France. After three spectacular days in the Pyrenees. We had loosely followed the tour through the South. Next stop the Alps, but we still had a few days and with the tour stopping in the historic town of Nimes, famous for its Roman vestiges, the Maison Carrée (Square House temple), Magne Tower, and Pont du Gard bridge it seemed like a goo point to take stock in our journey.
Tomorrow’s stage would take us to Digne-les-Bains, but now, only a few miles from the great wine village of Châteauneuf du Pape (CDP) I decided to make a short visit.
When I mentioned my intentions to Agent Terroir his eyes grew big and there was a noticeable feeling of excitement in his face. He had connections in Châteauneuf du Pape. Most notably the Bernard family with their vineyards in Châteauneuf du Pape.
I was most interested in the CDPs. They are among the most unique and varied, and yet surprisingly accessible wines of the southern Rhône. A quick drive and we had arrived at Château Beauchene where we were immediately greeted by *Michel Bernard *, the winemaker. Before we knew it we were in the tasting room, surrounded by a dozen glasses each, tasting a great selection. Oh, how this job is tough…
The best of which was a flight of their 2004 Vignoble de le Serriere CDP. For those unfamiliar with these great wines, they can be any permutation of up to 13 different varietals, but are mostly lead off with the Rhône’s dominant grape, Grenache. In this case, Château Beauchene CDP is mostly Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre and is made in the traditional style.
If you love rich, full-bodied, dark and spicy wines, be sure to pick up a few bottles of this extremely limited exclusive wine.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the approximate location of Château Beauchene can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
This Châteauneuf-du-Pape is Grenache 65%, Syrah 25%, Mourvedre 10%. Its appearance is deep red and intensive color, with some purplish highlights. Nose: Red fruits, leather, liquorice with hints of spice. Palate: This is powerful wine which is well-blended and harmonious with a complex and well-balanced tannic structure. It displays great length and will age well for several years. This wine is in perfect harmony with game, red meat and cheese. This is a perfect wine for all celebrations. Peak: 5 years.
The Vineyard and Grapes:
In the North of the appellation, on the communes of Coruthezon, Orange and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Soil in alluvial terraces is composed of galets (large rounded pebbles) mixed with sandy red clay. Syrah and Mourvedre: 30 years average age Grenache from 40 to 93 years old.
The strength and character of the family vineyard is in its diversity – composed of three very different terroirs :
The oldest vineyard is situated between Orange and Chateauneuf du Pape. It is from here that our Cotes du Rhone 1er Terroir, and Chateauneuf du Pape are produced from vines planted in 1905.
Surrounding Château Beauchêne is our second terroir. Here, the soil is composed of small fallen rocks from the hill of Piolenc, and this offers exceptional soils and climate for our Grenache and Syrah. Our best white grape varieties come from this vineyard also.
Planted in 1946, the vineyard of Les Souffles de Costerelle benefit from a good environment :south facing, pine forest of 50 hectares, allowing the Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault to reach perfect maturity.
Principles of the “Agriculture Raisonnee”, a philosophy of production to guarantee:
- a first quality product
- a completely safe product
- a better respect of our environment
The use of traditional techniques as ploughing, hand harvesting and sorting by each grape picker.
De stemming of the grapes, maceration for a period of 20 days minimum. Part of the wine is stored in oak barrels for one year.
About The Winery:
The Bernard family has lived in Orange since the 17th century. Originally “mesnagers” or tenant farmers, the Bernards were to profit from the social upheavals of the French Revolution, buying their first vineyard soon after the conflict in 1794. This vineyard is still present nowadays.
Since 1971, Michel Bernard runs, with his wife Dominique, the vineyard which they have developed since and in 2004, their eldest daughter joined the board.
Today, Chateau Beauchene has become the hub for the vinification and maturation of all the cuvees from the different vineyards own by the family.
3 appellations are represented amongst our 80 hectares:
- Chateauneuf du Pape
- Cotes du Rhone Villages
- Cotes du Rhone
The whole harvest is bottled at the Château Beauchêne.
The Château itself has been bought by the family is 1986 with the aim to develop the actual vineyard.
The 18th century chateau has been built adjoining a 12th century farm. Providing ideal conditions, its vaulted cellars are perfect for the wines to age in French oak barrels.
The area is full of historic discoveries like a press from the roman times which has been updated, a lot of amphora, and old coins.
Winery: Château Beauchêne
Winemaker: Michel Bernard
Grape Varieties: Grenache 65%, Syrah 25%, Mourvedre 10%
*Age of Vines: *40 to 93 years old
Vineyard Size: 80 hectares
Soil: Soil in alluvial terraces is composed of galets (large rounded pebbles) mixed with sandy red clay.
Yield: 40hl/ hectare
Winemaking process: De-stemming of the grapes, maceration for a period of 20 days minimum. Part of the wine is stored in “barriques” for one year.