The 2016 vintage for the Southern Rhone is not just excellent, it is great, surpassing the 2012 vintage, equalling or exceeding the 2010; Michael Chapoutier believes it could be better than 1990. There were warm conditions throughout the year, getting off to an early and excellent start with no excessive humidity. The summer arrived early and in turn flowering progressed under perfect conditions. The second half of the year passed with warm and dry weather. Immediately after harvest, winemakers were declaring the conditions as the best since 1998. These sublime climatic conditions have resulted in wines with great colour, fruit concentration, rich tannin and intense flavor. The quality is high throughout, yet the best producers have made some of the potentially greatest Rhones ever.
Today we are delighted to release Beaucastel’s Hommage a Jacques Perrin. It is incredibly rare, producing less than 300 cases per year and only made in excellent vintages. As such, it takes pride of place alongside Romanee Conti, Le Pin and Screaming Eagle as one of the world’s rarest and most prestigious wines. Its debut vintage, the 1989, was awarded 100 points as was the 1990. Since these seminal vintages, Beaucastel’s Hommage a Jacques Perrin also scored 100 points in 1998 and 2007. In 2016 it has been awarded its highest ever score, uniformly across all critics, who are in unison, that it is extremely special. Jeb Dunnuck has awarded it a perfect 100 points, calling it ‘It’s a heavenly, perfect wine that’s going to live for 30-50 years.’ James Suckling has awarded it 100 points and Joe Czerwinski of the The Wine Advocate has awarded it 99+ points. Taken together these scores tell the story of a truly remarkable wine, one for the ages and certainly the wine of the vintage.
Hommage a Jacques Perrin is a wine of huge power and structure and boasts stunning purity of fruit. Its cepage differs from Beaucastel, made from a larger percentage of Mourvedre, up to 60%, 20% Grenache, 10% Counoise and 10% Syrah, from the very oldest vines. The wine is aged for 12 to 18 months in used and new French oak barrels. Hommage a Jacques Perrin is considered the most age-worthy wine of the entire Chateauneuf du Pape region. It is also its rarest and most desirable wine.
Their Mouvedre is grown on almost one third of their land and is arguably the best example of this grape anywhere in the world. The vineyard is situated at the North-Eastern end of the appellation, a short walk from the famous town of Orange. The Estate has remarkable terroir, abounded by rolling pebbles on the surface, the subsoil contains an abundance of clay, which perfectly retains the vines’ water supply during the long hot summer days.
The Estate was transformed in 1903 by a young chemical engineer named Pierre Perrin, who with his father-in-law returned it to past glories after the region was atrophied by phylloxera. Jacques Perrin drove it forward in the 1950s by introducing new technologies and innovations. Today the vineyard continues to be treated with wonderful care; minimal sulphur is permitted and no chemical fertilizers or weed killers are used. They vinify in large old barrels (foudres) and only the Syrah is exposed to new oak. The Estate has a bright future as Jacques’ sons Jean-Pierre and François Perrin continue to balance tradition with innovation.
Allocations are minuscule and the 2016 is a future hall of famer.