2013 BV Annual Older Vintage Tasting

Recently we attended Beaulieu Vineyards Older Vintage Tasting. As someone who has sampled nearly every vintage of Georges de Latour since the mid-1960s, it is always a treat to revisit several older wines from this iconic producer to see how they are holding up over time.

For this tasting, pour sizes were limited, no notes were taken during the actual tasting. Having had the wines so many times, was a relatively straight forward assessment given previous data points. Brief impressions follow the day after the tasting:

1973 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – The best showing of the 1973 we have tasted to date. Some bricking, carmel, butterscotch and light bodied fruit well in balance. The finish is mature and subtle, a good showing for the wine.

1975 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – The same taste profile as the 1973 however a little more density to the fruit. Fully mature, it has held together beautifully and drinking well now. Do not expect it to improve with cellar age, enjoyable now and many years forward.

1981 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – The most mature drinking of all the wines tasted, and from a challenging vintage, the wine showed more oxidative qualities than the 1973 and 1975. Rounder in style, it should be opened in the near future.

1986 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – A fun wine, have always loved the 1986. This bottle did not disappoint. I kept the sample in my glass a little longer than other samples. Had some funkiness up front that blew off quickly and turned into a beautiful well balanced wine. This wine will continue to age gracefully for years.

1990 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – My favorate Georges de Latour of the tasting, found this one textbook 1990 California Cabernet. Bigger fruit, more leather and game, perfect balance, a wine that will keep giving back new dimensions the longer you drink it over time.

2006 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – 2006 and 2008 have been two of our least favorite vintages of the last few decades, BV however is one of those rare exceptions to the rule. A fantastic wine, delicate, restrained and consisent. Think the wine will turn into something special with additional cellar aging.

Along with the Georges de Latour, tasted several of the Clone wines we do not have a long of track record of tasting, but certainly found them noteworthy.

1997 Beaulieu Vineyards Clone 4 Reserve Cabernet – An excellent vintage, 1997 is always challenging to access because most of the top California wines are just starting to come around now. This wine was no different, tight and restrained. A good wine to revisit in a few years and see how it is coming around.

1999 Beaulieu Vineyards Clone 6 Reserve Cabernet – Round fruit, easy drinking, a pleasant wine. No signs of oxidation, but mature and ready to drink.

2004 Beaulieu Vineyards Clone 4 Reserve Cabernet – Next to the 1990 Georges de Latour, the top wine of the tasting. Impeccable balance, subtle nuanced characteristics, excellent medium bodied fruit, would love to sit down over a long evening.

When we reflect back on all the BV wines tasted over the years, cannot help but consider them one of the original California Cults, in the likes of Heitz Martha, Montelena, Caymus and a few other long time producers.

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine



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