Coudoulet as with Beaucastel, owes its ability to age to the large proportion of Mourvedre - about 30% - that makes up the final cuvée. It provides a tannic backbone and resistance to oxidation that ensures long life. In addition, Mourvedre brings aromas of leather, tobacco, and spice to the blend. One should note also that the Beaucastel and Coudoulet vineyards are at the northerly limit for the cultivation of Mourvedre. It is a well recognized fact that the best expressions of any varietal come from the limits of their growing areas. The other main variety, Grenache, gives Coudoulet the rounded fullness and intense fruit that is typical of Côtes du Rhône. Syrah and Cinsault represent about 20% each and bring tannins and aromatic complexity to Coudoulet. After careful hand harvesting the grapes are transferred to the winery and undergo the same flash heating technique as the red wine of Beaucastel. The maceration is completed in enamel tiled vats over about 12 days and then the free run wine is taken off and a light pneumatic pressing is made. Each grape variety is kept separately until after the malolactic fermentation when the final blend is decided. The young wine continues to mature for about six months in large oak barrels or "foudres". In March following the vintage, the wine is fined with egg whites and bottled.
International Wine Cellar(2004 Vintage) Rating: 91/100 - As reviewed by Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar on Jan-06
Wine Advocate(2004 Vintage) Rating: 94/100 - As reviewed in Wine Advocate # 169 on Feb-07