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Beaucastel 1999

For a few years now, around mid-September I open a bottle of 1999 Beaucastel to celebrate a family birthday. On one occasion, a friend at one of these ritualistic openings who was inexperienced when it come to Beaucastel and brettanomyces (the yeast often found in Beaucastel and Musar amongst others which, for many, contributes much to the enjoyment of these wines).

It's an interesting way to observe the evolution of a wine although there have been disappointments along the way with some bottles opened at just the wrong time: that tricky adolescent stage between youthful energy and middle, or even old, age.

So, I was a little apprehensive when I drew the cork last night: would it be a joy to drink or an expensive reminder that I should probably invest in a Coravin? Well, it was the former, a glorious wine and one of the very best bottles of Beau I have experienced, even from a vintage which was only ever regarded as a four star year. It is impossible to convey this wine in words except to say that it was complete with a richness and weight that were precisely what I was looking for in this wine.

It does lead to a new problem, of course. Do I pop the rest soon whilst they are definitely enjoyable or do I wait to see how they develop over the next several years? Probably both! Now there's a good argument for getting a Coravin!

By the way, if you have any experience of Coravin, I would welcome your opinions.

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