Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tasting at Beaulieu Vineyards

Wineries with stories immersed in an area's wine producing history are always interesting to tour. I was excited to include Beaulieu Vineyards on my recent visit to Napa Valley. I was most familiar with the point in time that André Tchelistcheff is brought in as winemaker. I enjoyed learning more about the very beginning of the story from Curtis Graham, my wine educator for the tasting. 

Georges de Latour's wife, Fernande, named the land "beau lieu," or "beautiful place”. The area was originally a four-acre ranch but Georges de Latour had dreams of making wines that would rival those made in his homeland of France. De Latour began selling wine to the Catholic Church, a strategic move that allowed Beaulieu Vineyard to remain in business during Prohibition. By the late thirties, he would bring in André Tchelistcheff, who would then go on to influence so many others in Napa Valley with his style of winemaking. The wines would become the benchmark for Rutherford Cabernet. 

The story was told over a bit of a retrospective tasting in the Reserve Room which houses their Georges de Latour Private Reserve & Library Collection. If you are looking for an older vintage to purchase to celebrate a special year, you may find it here.


My media/trade tasting included:
2012 BV Reserve Carneros Chardonnay (SRP $40)- smooth, round, creamy lemon custard nuance
2010 BV Reserve Tapestry (SRP $65)- rich, aromatic with rose, blackberry jam and chocolate cherries, smooth finish.
2011 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $135)- impressive wine from a vintage seemingly called by all accounts-trying or difficult; floral notes over fresh cherry/berry with mineral finish
2010 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $135)- aromatic elegance combined with a powerful structure showcasing its cooler than usual growing season. Fresh ripe blackberry, black cherry, violets, coffee, baking spice. Smoother finish than above.
1994 BV Clone 6  Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $190)- Big, smooth, blackberry cobbler and leather, a wine to demonstrate their long time interest in clonal research and the advantages seen in the wine.
1981 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon- amazingly fresh and vibrant yet also complex and interesting; this final wine showcased the age worthiness of the wines produced.

A recommended stop when touring and tasting in Napa Valley. Public tastings and tour experiences range in price from $20-$75.