Published on January 4th, 2014 | by Greg0
Beaulieu Vineyards: Red And White Wines With History
Back at the turn of the century- before prohibition, and before California’s Napa and Sonoma regions had become synonymous with quality American winemaking- George de Latour picked up a vineyard near Rutherford. Now one of the longest-producing vineyards in the area, we’re thrilled that they continue to put out gems.
Today’s pair of wines from Beaulieu Vineyards offer something at both ends of the spectrum, as we look at their 2009 Reserve Tapestry Red Blend and the 2011 Reserve Carneros Chardonnay. The former runs about $65 a bottle while the latter costs about $40, and they’ve both received excellent marks and scores from Wine Spectator and others.
Let’s start with the light, peachy Chardonnay, a sharper wine with less butter and more jam. If you’re a fan of single-note, simple wines, this one might confuse you- it felt like sort of a moving target, changing quite a bit with air, at different temperatures, and melding alongside foods. More spicy than some and well-balanced, it was great with risotto, and helped make a light cheese course feel special. The official tasting notes mention “baked apple, honey… crème brûlée, vanilla and sweet, smoky spice”, but that makes it sound sweeter than it is. Fairly intense, the 2011 Reserve Carneros Chardonnay is a wine of character- and a bottle to impress guests with a price tag that won’t hurt.
The 2009 Reserve Tapestry is more of a special occasion wine, one to sip and savor or even cellar for a bit. Three years on, it’s still got some room to grow, as you might expect for this Bordeaux-style blend (largely Cabernet Sauvignon, with a bit of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec). This bottle won “Best in Show” for red wines at the San Diego International Wine Competition, and has taken home a slew of other awards, medals, and high scores. Aged in 58 percent new oak, a little of this wine goes a long way, with lengthy dark berry and a full, dense body and a complex finish. Earthy and with a mineral nose, it balances all of the best parts of Cab grapes (tobacco, espresso) without becoming overwhelming or flat. One taster called it “delicate”, we would suggest letting it sit a bit and then simply say: delicious. Pair with your best steak, medium-rare.