Sometimes life just nicely comes together. Sitting down at the end of the 2009 North American Wine Bloggers Conference in the sunny courtyard of Dry Creek Vineyard, I happened to sit across from one Jill Dever (Twitter). She being the Visitor Center Coordinator at Beaulieu Vineyard and the newly minted social media queen of all that is BV. We got to chatting and she mentioned that BV was really looking to expand its presence in social media, particularly with wine bloggers. A card swap, a few introductions and a new wine journey had begun!
Jill signed up myself and a few other bloggers to their Wine Society Wine Club and invited us to a few upcoming events including this particular one, about which I was very fired up. The Georges de Latour Private Reserve is one of the most famous wines in the (domestically) long history of Napa Valley wine. First released with the 1936 vintage as the Reserve, it was renamed the following vintage for the founder of Beautiful View Mr. Latour, by his (sadly) new widow. The name has remained ever since as the flagship wine of one of the oldest wineries in Napa. With this 70th Anniversary Release of the 2006, BV also unveiled their brand new Georges de Latour Private Reserve Winery within their winery, where all future GdL wines will be vinted.
The Lady and I pulled up right on time, after flipping the proverbial squealing Napa biznitch after I realized that despite living in Napa for so many years, I still have very little sense of direction. Once arrived, we headed past the beautiful vintage car and into the winery where we were greeted with glasses of BV 2001 Carneros Brut Sparkling Reserve bubbly, a very tasty start. It featured a nice balance of characteristics between a crisp fruity sparkler and a toasty, yeasty one. Holding our glasses, we greeted Russ Beebe (Twitter) of Winehiker Witiculture and California Wine Hikes along with Lady Winehiker. We enjoyed the standup bass in the swing/jazz band and viewed the sparkling winery.
We quickly dived into the wines and pairings, however, as I was itching to try some of these famous Napa Cabs. True to form, this was a back vintage vertical of the 2006, 1996 and 1986 Georges de Latour, replete with nomnom pairings. We started with the ’06 and the Beef Brisket with Cabernet Herb Sauce Sliders. The sliders were incredibly tasty and stood up well to the more sturdy, young 2006. It was almost inky in color and much more open on the nose that I expected, with cassis, good anise and just a hint right now of that famous dust. The palate was closed in this young stage with very black fruit and no red. The acid was great for aging and the tannins were prominent but also silky, a delicious combo.
Following the 2006 and the sliders, we then tasted the ’96, just now really coming into its prime. A very good effort as well, this was my favorite of the day. Showing a garnet core with slight burnt sienna colored edges, this was very open in the nose and on the palate with aromas if big Bing cherry, and dusty earthy black tea and cassis. The palate was wonderful, with all kinds of cherry, more anise and forest floor in the cherry finish. Great. This was paired with Grilled Lamp Lollipops with Rustic Porcini Sauce…very yummy as well, but a rather interesting name.
Lastly, we checked out the 1986, a full 23 years old at this point in its life. I had the opportunity to talk about the new winery and winegrowing changes that have occurred over the years with previously longtime BV Bordeaux Varietal winemaker, but just recently named Head Winemaker, Jeffrey Stambor. Jeffrey has been at BV for almost two decades and was patient throughout my many questions, answering all of them in a very friendly, dynamic and extremely informative manner. The ’86 was, of course, the 50th Anniversary wine of the series and was now medium-full at this more elder age. Orange edges rimmed the medium garnet core and the nose was black olive, tea, Bing cherry and wet forest floor. The palate was still quite good,with good acid and earthy dusty red fruit that dove into the drier realm. Very impressive and again paired with the Fire Roasted Beef Tenderloin on Garlic Crouton, my favorite dish of the day.
All of the BV wines were showing well that day and exhibited a common theme of powerful yet silky tannins and most importantly, great balance between the fruit and structure of acid and tannins. The wines varied in power, of course, depending on their age, but could all be described as elegantly strong, another running theme with these three wines. We learned even more about the wines after taking a tour led by Jill through the more historic parts of the winery, some of which contain massive 2.5 story redwood casks that are over 100 years old and still used to age wine!
The Wine Society (WineLog) club wines have also been interesting, exhibiting the limited production labels of the BV lineup of wines. The 2007 Marsanne was particularly interesting, with smooth orange peel flavors alongside pineapple and abundant florals. This is a very good representation of this Rhone varietal. The ’06 Ensemble Red showed some strongly savory black pepper notes that I always love to find in certain reds.
Jump in and check out my full reviews below of the three elegant wines that we tried that afternoon at BV, as well as the two wines that I’ve tried so far from their BV Wine Society wine club. If you would like to list these in your own WineLog, the GdL wines are tagged with “BV2006GdL” and the wine club wines are tagged with “BVWineSociety“. A very big thank you goes out to Jill and everyone else at BV. Enjoy!