As I stated last year, there is no Hommage a Jacques Perrin in 2006, but Beaucastel's 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape is performing even better from bottle than it did last year. Its dense plum/ruby/purple color is followed by a big, sweet perfume of black truffles, camphor, earth, incense, new saddle leather, and loads of peppery, blackberry, and herb-infused, meaty, black cherry fruit. Deep, full-bodied, and dense, with sweet tannin, this explosively rich Chateauneuf is a stronger effort than the 2005, 2004, or 2003. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2028
Vivid ruby. Spicy, finely etched red berry and cherry aromas are complicated by fresh lavender, herbs and minerals. The palate offers tangy raspberry and cherry skin flavors, with gentle tannins adding shape. Impressively pure, even delicate, with outstanding finishing clarity and length. This beguiles rather than brutalizes; I underestimated it last year.
Powerful, with a round, almost creamy core of blackberry and raspberry fruit all layered with cocoa, sweet toast, mesquite and fig paste. Long and rich through the finish. Still quite primal, with lots in reserve. Best from 2010 through 2030.
Rather like the 2006s from Jaboulet, this wine is noticeably – determinedly? – fresher and cleaner on the nose than some previous vintages used to be. I wonder if this is the Pascal Chatonnet effect? Not at all ‘hot’, the 2006 is very slightly muted on the nose (not a trace of the horsiness for which Beaucastel has in the past been reproached) and then extremely sweet and glamorous on the palate - fantastic polish with very fine tannins on the finish and a suggestion that there is a great deal still to be expressed. There’s lift at the end but it needs to take on flesh in the mid to end palate before it really delivers on its undoubted promise.
As for the 2006 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape, it is a top-notch success and one of the vintage’s top wines. A big, sweet, beefy nose intermixed with truffles, tree bark, fresh mushrooms, blackberry and black currants as well as some road tar jumps from the glass of this dense ruby/purple-colored wine. The wine has terrific fruit on the attack, medium to full body, very concentrated flavors, and moderate tannin in the finish. This is a strong Mourvedre-based cuvee that needs 4-6 years of bottle age and should last 25-30 years.