A great day out last week with a lovely group of Americans ( from Chicago, San Francisco, Wasington DC ) , all devotees of Chateauneuf du Pape. First port of call: Chateau Beaucastel, where Thomas Perrin grandson of the great Jaques Perrin..and a man with one of the most impressive spitting techniques I’ve ever seen.. introduced the estate , some of their unique wine making steps ( including the intense heating up of the must prior to fermentation to help with ageing potential/reduce the need for sulpher etc.) In the coolness of the cellars, we tasted a wide selection of the range including white and red regular cuvee CNduP , Coudolet CduR, their all syrah Vinsobre and a very elegant Vacqueyras. But the star of the show was the 1997 regular cuvee , great super smooth mouthfeel, gamey but not barnyard, loved by all. On to La Nerthe where we tasted recent vintages of the regular cuvee, red and white but also reds from 1997 ( totally different style this one , made by the previous regime to Alain Dugas, much more traditional…positively funky, but lovely to my palate. To round off the morning we strong armed Sylvie Chabran into opening a bottle of the 1984, light in colour and body but still full of sweet red summer fruits and a seductive lingering finish. Bottles purchased in hand we set off to Verger les Papes for a great meal on the terrace, pretty much perfection! Thanks for the business Mr. Arkin.