By Tommy Oldre
I'm trying to contain my enthusiasm right now, so as not to anger coworkers here in the office, but my thoughts are currently dominated by the trip I embark on tomorrow. It has been over eight years since I spent time overseas and I leave tomorrow for a few days in Bristol, England before heading to the Southern Rhone early next week, and of course Chateau de Beaucastel. In short, I'm psyched and very thankful.
This is my seventh year at Tablas Creek and I have been referencing Chateau de Beaucastel, nearly daily, the entire time. I spoke of Beaucastel often when I first started in the tasting room, I learned a lot about their cellar practices from Neil and Ryan in my time here in the cellar of Tablas Creek, and I still reference the Beaucastel estate frequently when I am out in the market. I commonly talk about, and field questions about the galets, the mistral (please let if be windy just one day), the various, obscure varietals that are grown on the estate, and the nearly petrified foudres used in their cellars. However, I have never seen, touched, nor experienced first-hand any of the aforementioned.
I have seen many pictures of the estate and its vines in different seasons and I have seen pictures taken in the cellars of Beaucastel from different eras. I know the history of the friendship between the Haas and Perrin families, I have a very good idea of the topography of the Beaucastel vineyard, I can tell you exactly where it is located in the Chateauneuf du Pape A.O.C., and I know about the interstate that borders its property. Honestly, I can tell you more things about Chateau de Beaucastel than any other place or property I have never been to, and I can't wait to change that next week. It will be a dream, and frequently recurring daydream, come true.
As the plan stands, Neil and I will be spending next week in the southern Rhone with the Perrin family. We will not only be visiting Beaucastel, but will also visit their other properties in Gigondas, Vinsobres, Vacqueyras, and perhaps a couple others. We also plan to head a bit further south one day to Bandol, where I understand vineyards of Mourvedre look out over the sea. That sounds just fine to me. More than anything, I can't wait to take it all in; to put faces and places to the words I have read and the wines I have enjoyed and continue to inspire me.
I will be doing my best to send Twitter (@tommytablas) updates along the way and I will also be compiling data for future blog posts on my return, including another post in the All Things Consumed series. Did I mention I plan on eating in a dignified, though omnivorous, fashion yet? Well, I do.
Thanks for reading et au revoir.