Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape: Holy Beginnings
With a history that's incomparably papal, one might say that the wines of Chateau de Beaucastel are some of France's holiest. Regardless, they're among the tastiest – particularly the Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, which is up for a Luxist award in the best international white wine category.
In 1321, during the papacy of John XXII, four barrels from the papal cellars were brought to Chateauneuf to be filled with wine. The pope must have approved of the result, because the papal vineyard holdings soon grew, as did the fame of the wines they produced.
When Pierre de Beaucastel purchased a farm in the Chateauneuf area in 1549, he became the next steward of the papal tradition established more than two centuries earlier. The Beaucastels and their wines would later draw admiration from Louis XIV, who penned letters to the family that still survive.
The papacy has long since exited the wine business, but today, Chateau de Beaucastel's Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc carries on the legacy. Made from 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc grapes grown on vines 10-40 years old, the wine is popular for its smooth taste and hints of acacia and honey. The chateau also offers a "Vielles Vignes" cuvée, made from grapes exclusively picked from Roussanne vines that are 65 years of age or older.
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