Q & A with Victor Coulon of Domaine de Beaurenard
How has your impression of the 2019 / 2020 vintage evolved since its harvest? (mostly on Châteauneuf-du-Pape white and red)
2019 and 2020 have been two top vintages in a row.
Time shows that 2019 CDP red has more structure and grip while it keeps beautiful deep fruit notes. 2020 is rounder and shows bright and fresh fruits. We are now (September 2021) creating the final blend of our classic CDP Beaurenard Red 2020. Compared to 2019, I feel like I could almost bottle it right away without an additional 8 to 10 months in concrete tanks as I have done for the 2019 in order to harmonize the blend.
The 2019 whites were a bit reserved after bottling (April 2020), but they now show as extremely appealing, mineral and refined. The 2020 whites are very intense and already ready to taste with notes of pear, white peaches and honeysuckle.
Describe in a couple of sentence your reds and white Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Our classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape Beaurenard Red is defined by its finesse and complexity. “Power” in our wine is also an important parameter but it should never be predominant. Our farming method and our style of vinification help preserve a balanced profile which is difficult in a region known for warm and dry weather conditions.
The whites also come with this signature, they show a unique velvet texture and delicate aromas. They have a medium to rich texture with an incredible salinity that lifts them up.
How did the frost/drought/mildew affect that vintage, and do you see a parallel with the 2021 frosts? Do you have a final assessment on that 2021 frost damages per AOC (Châteauneuf-du-Pape / Rasteau / Côtes du Rhône)
2019 was marked by unprecedented extreme temperature and a drought by the end of June. Vineyards but also nature, forest and garrigue were suffering from it. Biodynamic tisanes were a great help that summer. They were applied to help the vines resist and cool down. During harvest the climate was more gentle and it helped save the balance between acid and sugar in the fruits.
2020 has been more gentle with us, with the usual sunny, dry and warm conditions with no excess.
2021’s unprecendented wave of frost has been a completely different story. Yields in all our vineyards are expected to be 40% down on average which is very low! . The average is 28hl/hectare over the last decade for us in CDP; the egal limitation is 35 hl/ha. The only parallel I can see with previous vintages is my use of the word “unprecendented” more and more often over the last decade when I’m talking about climate conditions. For my family climate has been a priority concern, we have been lucky that my father Daniel was already concerned 20 years ago when most people did not care at that time. We won much more experience and practiced in the vineyard over that time.
How long will you be cellaring your 2019s reds and 2020s white?
Another incredible aspect of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines is their capacity of ageing. They develop layers of complexity while keeping intensity.
My family has always been attached to keeping an important wine library, with vintages from the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Without waiting for decades 5 years or even better 10 years will show a unique profile of wines. It worth the patience !
Whites share the same terroir and surprisingly for most people they also age extremely well. Between 5 and 7 years old the sometimes seems “tired” it is then better to wait a couple years to see them reborn.
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September 10, 2021