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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Oenology arrow California Dreaming
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Beaulieu Vineyard

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ImageThe Beaulieu Vineyard in Rutherford, California, produces some of the world?s best wines; sought after by connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

In 1900, when Georges de Latour?s wife, Fernande, first laid eyes on the land that would become their original Rutherford vineyard, she named it ?beau lieu?, or beautiful place. Shortly after, De Latour sold his thriving cream of tartar business, bought the four-acre ranch and founded Beaulieu Vineyard with the vision of making Napa Valley wines that would rival those of his native France.

De Latour quickly made a name for himself by importing phylloxera-resistant rootstock from Europe to the recently-ravaged fledgling California wine industry. He also began selling wine to the Catholic Church, establishing a strong relationship that would allow Beaulieu Vineyard to become the only Napa Valley winery to remain in business during Prohibition.

In fact, during Prohibition the winery increased its business. After the repeal in 1933, Georges began searching for someone who could contribute European winemaking expertise. In 1938, he travelled to France and returned with Andr? Tchelistcheff, famed viticulturist and oenologist who instituted the philosophy of continuous innovation in the vineyard and winery to which they remain dedicated today. Tchelistcheff introduced cold fermentation for white wines; malolactic fermentation for reds; and ageing red wines in small, French oak barrels.

He also tasted the De Latour family?s private wine, what they called ?Private Reserve? from the 1936 vintage. This Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine was so distinctive that Tchelistcheff insisted it be bottled and sold as the winery?s flagship offering. The result was the inaugural release of Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that was destined to become Napa Valley?s finest Cabernet.

The Vineyards

With more than 1,100 acres of estate vineyards and long-term relationships with its grower partners, Beaulieu Vineyard sources wines from premier spots in Napa Valley and throughout California?s coastal winegrowing regions.

Beaulieu Vineyard has a heritage of growing grapes on some of the best sites in Napa Valley. Beginning in 1904, with his first vineyard purchase in Rutherford - known today as BV1, Georges de Latour propelled this wine-growing region onto the world stage. From BV9 in Carneros to BV12 in Calistoga, long term knowledge of each vineyard is coupled with extensive research on clones, trellising styles, and viticultural techniques. The results are finely tuned growing practices for each location that produce the absolute highest quality grapes.?

Georges de Latour Estates

ImageThe first property purchased by Georges de Latour, BV 1, is planted to 79 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, with Cabernet Sauvignon the most prominent. In the 1990s, BV 1 was replanted to the University of California at Davis (UCD) Cabernet Sauvignon clones 4, 6 and 337. With its combination of warm days and the cooling effect of nearby San Pablo Bay, this site enjoys one of the longest growing seasons in Northern California for mature flavour development in grapes. Fruit from BV 1 is used to craft Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve Tapestry, Napa Valley and Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford.

The second property purchased by Georges de Latour, lies just south of BV 1 on the west side of Highway 29 in Rutherford. Its 125 planted acres include Cabernet Sauvignon-UCD clones 4, 6 and 7-as well as a small amount of Merlot. Like BV 1, this site enjoys optimal sun exposure and cool fog, for a long, even growing season. Grapes from BV 2 go into our Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve Tapestry, Napa Valley and Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford.

Beaulieu Vineyard Ranch No. 10-or BV 10

Across from BV 1 and BV 2, BV 10 is located on four acres on the east side of Highway 29 in Napa Valley's Rutherford district. This is an experimental vineyard, where they train many different varietals.

Beaulieu Vineyard 11 lies north of Rutherford in the quaint town of St. Helena, far from the cooling effect of San Pablo Bay. As a result, daytime temperatures rise high above those of the surrounding regions. Vines take root in a mix of sedimentary, gravel-clay and volcanic soils, and the 115 acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Musque. Some of the Zinfandel blocks of BV 11 date back to 1975.

Beaulieu Vineyard 12 is situated in Calistoga, at the northern tip of Napa Valley. This vineyard, with its wide range of soil types, is home to the most diverse set of vine plantings and inspired the classic Beaulieu Vineyard Maestro Collection red wine, a blend of seven varietals.

The Master

Andr? Tchelistcheff was born into an aristocratic Russian family and studied viticulture and oenology at the Pasteur Institute and the Institut National Agronomique in Paris. When he arrived at Beaulieu Vineyard, he brought with him European methods of cultivation and pruning and insisted upon increasing the level of sanitation in the winery. That was just the beginning. He soon tasted wine from each parcel of the Rutherford estate and set about experimenting with the kind of rigorous small-lot fermentation that continues to this day. Among his many other innovations were building a cold room to ferment white wines and establishing malolactic fermentation as standard practice when making red wines.

Although Andr? Tchelistcheff retired from Beaulieu Vineyard in 1973, he returned in 1991 to work as a consultant with Joel Aiken, current vice-president of winemaking. Together they tasted 50 vintages of Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, studying the effects of vintage and bottle age on the vertical collection. They also instituted the ageing of red wines in French oak and experimented with a number of small lot wines such as the ?Maestro? Pinot Noir from Carneros, which Joel Aiken named in Tchelistcheff?s honour.

Georges de Latour Private Reserve

Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has been widely recognized as the benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford since its inaugural 1936 vintage. This wine consistently reveals the personality of its unique origins?what Andre Tchelistcheff famously termed ?Rutherford Dust? - with bold, classic varietal character.

Since its inaugural 1936 vintage, this flagship wine has been considered the benchmark of Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford. Its bold varietal expression and impeccable structure come from the historic Rutherford estate and the vineyard?s dedication to innovation in both vineyard and winery.

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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