The Beaulieu Vineyard has been making Napa Valley wines for over 100 years and is still going strong. Crafting California wines can be challenging, but not when you have André Tchelistcheff, the wine-making master, on your side.
Want to learn more about Beaulieu Vineyard? Let's dive into Georges de Latour and his move from Bordeaux to Rutherford, the Maestro Andre Tchelistcheff, the infamous Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and the wine-making process behind all the success.
From Bordeaux To Rutherford
After traveling from their homeland of Bordeaux, France, Georges de Latour and his wife, Fernande, found themselves thousands of miles away in Rutherford, California. The environment in Rutherford immediately drew them in.
Not long after they arrived in Rutherford, Georges de Latour decided to sell his cream of tartar business and buy a whopping 127 acres of what would become storied vineyards in Rutherford. He founded Beaulieu Vineyard, and his goal was to make wine that could compare to the wine in France. And he did just that.
Georges de Latour went above and beyond when it came to making sure his vineyard succeeded. He had vines imported from Europe that would eventually help his neighboring colleagues in Napa County.
He started a nursery in Paris, where vines were grafted. Many believe that California owes Georges de Latour a great debt for bringing a tremendous amount of quality grafted vines to the area.
His genius goes far beyond the grafted vines. Before the start of Prohibition, Georges de Latour had the idea to obtain a warrant to "produce altar wine" for churches. He became the first nationwide supplier of altar wine all across the country. While other vineyards were forced to close due to prohibition, Beaulieu Vineyard remained open and thrived. They expanded during this time and continued to grow immensely.
Beaulieu Vineyard continues to thrive today and has quite a collection of wine. The brand has been purchased by other companies several times since 1969, but it's currently a part of Treasury Wine Estates as of 2016.
André Tchelistcheff, the Maestro
In 1938, Georges de Latour went to France looking for a new winemaker for Beaulieu Vineyards. Who did he find? You guessed it, André Tchelistcheff. Tchelistcheff had offers coming left and right from many different vineyards, but he chose Beaulieu Vineyard, and it worked out spectacularly.
Throughout his time with Beaulieu Vineyard, Tchelistcheff would become one of Napa Valley's most influential winemakers. He was innovative and would guide Beaulieu Vineyard to the next level of success.
Tchelistcheff has even mentored winemakers that you may be familiar with. Robert Mondavi, Louis Martini, and Rob Davis are just a few of the many who learned from the maestro himself.
Tchelistcheff was Beaulieu Vineyard's head winemaker for 25 years before he retired. Or did he? After 20 years of retirement, Tchelistcheff decided to return to Beaulieu Vineyard and continue making quality craft wines. He just couldn't leave the wine club.
Beaulieu Vineyard Wines
Beaulieu Vineyard has an extensive collection of red and white wines to choose from.
If you're already familiar with the Beaulieu Vineyard brand, then you know the Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon is a key player, but there's more where that came from. If you're a fan of red wine, Beaulieu Vineyard also has a merlot, a red blend, and a pinot noir.
If you're a fan of white wines, don't worry, Beaulieu Vineyard hasn't forgotten about you. In Beaulieu Vineyard's white wine collection, we have a chardonnay, a muscat, and a sauvignon blanc.
And, of course, what Beaulieu Vineyard is most known for, we have the GDL Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
If we're discussing Beaulieu Vineyard, we must discuss the wine, the longtime benchmark, the Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
After arriving in Rutherford, Tchelistcheff did some wine tasting. While doing so, he tasted a "special lot of 1936 Cabernet Sauvignon". He was taken with the quality of it immediately, so much so that he demanded that it get packaged differently.
Upon its release in 1941, it would become the Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a flagship wine for the Beaulieu Vineyard brand.
The Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon's are truly spectacular and world-renowned. The 2019 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is iconic. It was the #1 wine of 2022 and scored 100 points.
The Wine-Making Process
Beaulieu Vineyard does a magnificent job of combining new innovative technology with traditional wine-making. This creates the perfect balance of bringing forth the new while staying true to the long-established wine-making ways.
The GDL Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon goes through an extensive wine-making process. First, the fruit is handpicked with extreme care to ensure the quality is up to the Beaulieu Vineyard standards. The vines that produce the fruit undergo a tedious selection process, and only the best vines are chosen to make the GDL Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
The fermentation is quite interesting. A portion is fermented in French oak barrels, while the other portion is fermented in stainless steel and concrete tanks.
Next, it's time for aging red wines. After the wine is pressed and aged, the Cabernet Sauvignon gets a bit of Petit Verdot added to it to magnify the flavors and aromas further.
The fruit and vines aren't the only ones going through a long selection process. When it comes to the barrels for aging, the barrels also go through a careful selection.
At the end of the wine-making process, you're left with a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon that's complex and supple with decadent and exotic notes and aromas.