Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on November 8, 2009:
All hail to the Oregon nard who called 911 to report his marijuana stolen while his car was parked at a tavern, but the dispatcher couldn’t understand him because he stopped to vomit several times while driving drunk. Let’s just say the police did him a favor by arresting him. A New Zealand prime minister had a sculpture of him made of cow dung and sold on an auction site for over $2000, to protest his soft stand on pollution created by dairy farms. It didn’t help that he might have mentioned something about Wellingtonians make nothing but crappy art. A California man had just left his arraignment on auto theft charges when police arrested him while in his car, which unfortunately was another stolen car. He told officials his real car was impounded and that he had no other way to get to the court date. I wonder if he went to school in Oregon…just saying.
Your very own WAwineman is practicing a form of self-denial by somewhat intentionally imbibing in out-of-state wines to (1) understand Washington State’s wine slot with the rest of the world; and (2) prove the poor, almost non-existent selection of Washington wines in other states. Some folks think I’m too strict on my reviews of Washington wines even though I think I consistently commend nearly every product made with Washington grapes. I know that nearly every wino who thinks they know wine harp on the 100-point rating system but it’s a system that can at least be partially understood, unlike the stars or even the lame QPR ratio. I leave that for another review. This is my simple stance: Washington wines are amongst the best in the world for consistent value and quality. I know that in my heart, and my tastebuds. I can only prove that to myself (and you faithful readers who may have nothing else to do while surfing) by daring to leave my “comfort zone” and sample outsider wines to prove/disprove my hypothesis. Thus, here I am, naked and helpless (well, not literally) and ready to try a Califronia cab from a respectable winery.
Beaulieu Vineyard is located in the Rutherford district of the Napa Valley AVA, which is known for supposedly great cabernets due to its “Rutherford dust”, whatever that means. Beau lieu (“beautiful place”) was started in 1900 by Georges and Fernande de Latour. This winery’s greatest claim-to-fame was in bringing the legendary Andre “the Maestro” Tchelistcheff, who famed cold fermentation for white wines, secondary fermentation for reds, and aging red wines in smaller French oak barrels. Their signature wine is considered California’s first “cult wine” and is in its 70th vintage (1936-2005) and is for sale at $115.
What separates BV from any Washington winery is the sheer number of offerings in its portfolio. They have five different collections to choose from with prices varying from $11 (Coastal Estates) to the Private Reserve. This wine is from their Napa Valley tier, which is one step up from the Coastal Estates. I gather this bottle probably sold for around $20 back in the day. My uncle gave this to me as a gift and I felt now was the time to reveal its character. The color held firm (no browning) but nothing more than standard a deep rose red. The nose was fairly weak but delivered a slight blackberry essence. What was noticeable was the unbalanced flavors between fruit and oak. No integration whatsoever. It was either fruit or oak hitting my ‘buds and neither were wispy nor impressive. Paired with Beecher’s Smoked Flagship cheese and Pepperidge Farms goldfish crackers. The cheese was the best part of this trial.
Mouthfeel: like waiting in a medical clinic. Tail trail: 2 seconds. Flavors: blackberry, old wooden school walls. Rated: 76. Value: $6. Gifted. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.