BV- Oui, oui!
by Darryl Beeson
In 2004, the 2000 vintage Georges de Latour Private Reserve captured the trophy for best US Bordeaux Style wine at International Wine Challenge, London. This is not "stop the presses" news. The wines of Beaulieu Vineyards have over a century of high acclaim.
Beaulieu Vineyard head of winemaking Joel Aiken, who just celebrated his 25th year at BV, has refined his focus solely to the crafting of the renowned Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery is in the process of creating a self-contained, state-of-the-art winemaking facility dedicated solely to the production of this flagship wine.
Founder Georges de Latour refined winemaking in the Napa Valley, a native of Bordeaux, doing so in 1900. BV winemaker, André Tchelistcheff (Chel-e-chef) raised the winery to stellar levels starting in the mid-1930's. When Prohibition caused most California wineries to close forever, BV was able to stay in business legally through shrewed decisions. This enabled de Latour to expand the winery even further.
Aiken has steered the winery since 1982. In the early 1990's, with the aging but still keen Tchelistcheff’s consulting guidance, he initiated a number of changes that have received acclaim. Tchelistcheff encouraged experimentation and innovation. Vineyards were replanted to the more effective varietals. French oak barrel aging was introduced to the Private Reserve program at Tchelistcheff’s urging. BV conceived an extensive program of distinctive varietals such as Syrah, and Viognier.
The 2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon offers concentrated layers of black fruit and dark plum complexity. There are hints of mocha and black licorice framed within toasty vanilla oak from the French barrel aging. The tannins are soft, but gripping. There is the classic, distinctive Rutherford Dust bouquet. Aiken suggests that this big red is "best shown with equally rich entrées, such as filet mignon (a great recipe is below), or with an elegant cheese course." Also consider a lusty leg of lamb with fresh rosemary herbed new potatoes. Give this bottle a few years to expand further if you can wait.
"We sourced the vast majority of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the finest blocks of our Beaulieu Vineyard Ranch No. 1 and Ranch No. 2 on the Rutherford bench in the center of Napa Valley. The wine’s huge flavors give credence to André Tchelistcheff’s insightful quotation," says Aiken. Said Tchelistcheff, “It takes Rutherford Dust to make a great Cabernet Sauvignon.” What thou "dust," do quickly, said our Lord.
Filet Mignon with Shallots
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 filet mignon (tenderloin) steaks (6 ounces each), 3/4 inch thick, completely trimmed of any fat or sinew
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
10 shallots (6 ounces), peeled and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, chopped (1 teaspoon)
¼ cup beef stock
¼ cup red wine
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
Also Required is a heavy sauté pan
Heat the butter in a heavy sauté pan. Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with the pepper and salt. When the butter is hot and foam is beginning to subside, sauté the steaks to your taste, about 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
Transfer the steaks to a serving platter, and add the shallots and garlic to the drippings in the pan. Sweat them for about 30 seconds but do not let them brown. Add the beef stock and red wine, and boil to dissolve the pan drippings. Reduce for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until most of the moisture has evaporated and the sauce forms a deep brown glaze. Pour the sauce over the fillets, garnish with the parsley, and serve immediately.
The whole, amazing story of BV is at www.bvwines.com.
Darryl Beeson teaches professional certification for www.internationalsommelier.com. Says writer Roy Blount, Jr.,"Wine is tough, but I know Darryl can do it."