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Spotlight On: Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1989 and 1998


John Siudut
Posted: June 21, 2007

The Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1989 from Château de Beaucastel, Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 1991, is considered by many to be a benchmark of quality for the appellation.

Recently, senior editor James Molesworth, lead taster for the wines of the Rhône Valley, had a chance to taste the 1989 non-blind at the domaine. The original review rated the wine at 97 points and the wine has aged well according to Molesworth's recent tasting note posted on WineSpectator.com: "Gorgeous truffle, bacon fat, cedar, shaved vanilla bean and saucisson notes, but the fruit is still fresh, with currant, date and fig flavors followed by a long clove- and sandalwood-infused finish. A great showing, and from half-bottle to boot. Drink now through 2017. 98 points, non-blind."

Released at $35 per bottle, the wine has been selling at auction for about $200 recently. On June 27th, an especially large cache of the 1989 will be offered at Acker Merrall and Condit's evening sale. There are a total of 41 bottles, one magnum and one jeroboam on the block in assorted lots, highlighted by a string of 12-bottle cases set for lots 900-902. Acker has set these lots with high estimates at $300 a bottle while the lows are set at the current going rate of $200.

To add a Beaucastel to your cellar that is drinking superbly at half the price of the 1989, consider the 1998 (94, $62 on release; $87 current auction average). As it nears the 10-year mark, the 1998 is following the pricing trends of the 1989, and collectors should be eyeing this as a buy-in point since it is now entering its peak drink window and it could see much higher prices as demand sets in.

This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. This chart plots the prices of Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1989 and 1998 sold at auctions from 1995 to the present.

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