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 wrote about them previously in A Winery Synonymous with Napa Valley Itself when I reviewed the 2014 Tapestry Reserve, as well as in The Maestro when I reviewed the 2010 Maestro Collection Ranch No. 1. If you are not familiar with the history of BV, I highly suggest reading my first post linked above or checking out their website. Today, I will provide you with a little background on their famous Clone wines.
BV produces two highly limited wines with a clone designation, the Clone 4 and Clone 6. BV selected both clones after a 14-year series of trials with UC Davis that began in 1980 because they wanted to determine which clones best suited the terroir for their Rutherford vineyards. The Clone 6 (aka Jackson clone) was first planted during the 1880s by UC Davis professor Eugene Hilgard at the field station at Jackson in the Sierra Foothills, however it was abandoned until the past several decades. Clone 6 is characterized by small loose clusters and small berries that yield concentrated flavors and muscular tannins. The Clone 4 (aka Mendoza clone), meanwhile, was identified and isolated in Argentina before coming to the United States and is characterized by tight clusters of large berries that yield lush and opulent wines. Both Clone 4 and Clone 6 are components for the Georges de Latour and other reserve Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings.
Today’s Wine: 2008 Clone 6
100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.9% ABV
The 2008 Clone 6 is opaque deep ruby in color with purple hues at its core. I let this open up in a decanter and the nose showcases aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, anise, ripe red fruit, forest floor, earthy mushroom, tar, smoke, tobacco, and some oaky spice. Once in the mouth, this wine displays notes of blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, prune, redcurrant, black licorice, coffee bean, cigar box, scorched earth, dried underbrush, black pepper, and oak. This utterly complex and gorgeous wine is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium refined tannins, and a long finish with some inky black fruit notes. The 2008 Clone 6 is not slowing down anytime soon, still full of fruit character and not taking on a ton of tertiary notes or any sediment in the bottle.
Price: $225 on BV’s website (though we purchased this from them in 2015 for ~$150). This is a great special celebration Cabernet Sauvignon, though their less-expensive Georges de Latour ($145-175 depending on vintage) is just as good if not better. Pair this with steak, lamb, or pepper-crusted ahi tuna.