Beaulieu Vineyards 110th Anniversary

This weekend, attended a special event at Beaulieu Vineyards to celebrate their 110th year anniversary! As part of the celebration, took part in a Georges de Latour Retrospective and Reserve Room Tasting, as well as an evening 4 course dinner featuring several additional years of Georges de Latour Reserve Cabernet.

Having tasted a significant fraction of Georges de Latour wines over the past 40 years, looked forward to the opportunity to revisit several of the wines and see how they were holding up with age. What better way appreciate the ageworthiness than to taste excellent provenance wines directly from the cellars of Beaulieu Vineyards! As in previous years, the Anniversary celebration marked the release of the current vintage of Georges de Latour, and in this case, the much anticipated 2007! Brief observations follow of several wines tasted:

Georges de Latour Retrospective Tasting

1970 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – Dry tea leaves, smoke, tar, cigar ash, wheat, sugar and caramel, a compelling wine that is clearly aged, but still enjoyable.

1980 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – Brown sugar, raspberry, currant, dry leaves, celery and tobacco. More dense and concentrated than the 1970 with a bigger finish.

1986 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – Blackberry, cranberry, wheat, and vanilla. Was tight and elegant, one of the most closed examples of the 1986 I have tasted to date.

1992 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – Bright red fruits, tannic, and tea leaves. A nice wine that will show better with cellar aging. Did not show as well as other vintages.

2002 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – Currant, vanilla, concentrated, extracted, low acidity, dry tannin and far sweeter than older vintages. Opened up quickly in the glass.

2007 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – Ripe, sweet, bright cherry and strawberry. Soft tannin with huge soaring candied fruit. A wine that could easily be enjoyed young.

2009 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour Barrel Sample – Blue fruits and Cabernet Franc like in quality, was rough, course, and primary, too early to predict the future.

Anniversary Dinner at Rutherford House

1987 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – Dark fruits, minerals, dry leaves and spice. Had a lot in common with the 1986, more closed. The wine will age gracefully for many years.

1997 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – Black fruits, considerably shutdown, not as expressive or nuanaced as other years. A wine to revisit in 5 to 10 years.

2007 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour – Same observations from the retrospective tasting, the wine was a wonderful end of meal wine to drink into the evening.

A Special Dinner Wine

1968 Beaulieu Vineyards Beaumont Pinot Noir – Brought a bottle to share with our table at dinner. Youthful in color, the wine was absolutely amazing. Like so many excellent aged Grand Cru Burgundy, the wine showed earthiness, mineral, game meats, dry spice and a rich texture, combined with no signs of oxidation. Opened at the beginning of dinner, this awesome wine remained consistent over the span of the evening!

In the past 40 years, Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour wines have decidedly evolved. When I reflect back on tasting the wines of the 1960’s through 2000’s, see a movement from a French driven approach, wines that benefit from extended cellar aging, to those of today, as seen in the 2007 that are uniquely Californian, ripe, concentrated, monolithic and able to fully enjoy young. Having tasted the 2007 several times this weekend, it will no doubt compete with other modern high quality, high end California Cabernet producers!

Cheers to our friends at Beaulieu Vineyards for hosting a very special evening, and congratulations on 110 years of successful winemaking!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine

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