The Maestro

Today’s Story: Beaulieu Vineyard

Beaulieu Vineyard is one of the most historic wineries in Napa Valley, founded in 1900 by Georges de Latour and his wife Fernande. I previously wrote about their history in A Winery Synonymous with Napa Valley Itself back on December 8, and if you are unfamiliar with the winery or their history I highly suggest reading this prior post.

Though I won’t rewrite the entire backstory here today, I do want to give more color on the Maestro Collection which my wine today is part of. As I discussed in my prior post, world-renowned viticulturist and enologist André Tchelistcheff joined BV and brought European methods of cultivation and pruning with him. His contributions from the start seem endless, from his tasting of the 1936 vintage of the BV Private Reserve and encouraging Georges de Latour to bottle it separately to his experimentations with micro-plots of different grape varieties and small-lot fermentation. As one of the most influential and iconic winemakers in the Napa Valley, André worked with BV for 40 years as winemaker and gained the nickname the “Maestro.” Though André retired in 1973, he joined BV again in 1991 to help the winemaking team study the effects of vintage and bottle age on 50 vintages of Private Reserve Georges de Latour and he also helped experiment with small-lot wines. It is these small-lot wines produced using unique varietals, vineyard lots, and blends that make up the Maestro Collection, justifiably named in André’s honor.

Today’s Wine: 2010 Maestro Collection Ranch No. 1 Red Blend

I unfortunately could not find a percentage breakdown of varieties in this wine, though I do know this to be Cabernet Sauvignon dominant (I assume ~70-75%) blended with Merlot and a splash of Petit Verdot. 14.8% ABV

The 2010 Maestro Collection Ranch No. 1 is medium ruby in color and almost entirely opaque. This needs about an hour to open up, but once it does the nose showcases aromas of blackberry, cassis, plum, dried earth, cigar box, chocolate, nutmeg, and oak. Once in the mouth, I get notes of blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, sweet tobacco, slate, leather, vanilla, and a hint of licorice. This wine is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, dusty medium (+) tannins, and a long finish with herbaceous overtones.

Price: $95. While this is a delicious wine and the Maestro Collection is fairly limited, I find it hard to justify paying twice the price of a BV Tapestry Reserve which I consistently find to be good value. Pair this with steak, a good burger, or lamb.

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