According to their website Beaulieu Vineyard, founded in 1900, is “the longest continually operating winery in Napa Valley.” Evidently, BV founders Georges and Fernande de Latour had a thriving cream of tartar business. Of course, cream of tartar or potassium bitartrate is a natural byproduct of the winemaking process, crystallizing in the wine casks during fermentation. It has many important uses – especially in cooking – including as a component of baking powder. But the de Latours wanted to move up the process chain to making the wines out of which the potassium bitartrate precipitated. And so they purchased a ranch in Rutherford, CA to begin their winery. Not only a good vintner but also a wise businessman, Mr. de Latour forged a strong relationship with the Catholic church which kept him in business even during prohibition. Now some 114 years after it’s beginning, BV continues to produce quality wines with a full complement of offerings – Cabs, Chardonnays, Merlots, Sauvignon Blancs, Port, Pinot Gris, Muscats, and a variety of blends.
Notes: This coastal Calilfornian was a deep, dark, velvety red in color. It was medium-bodied with good acidity and fairly light tannins. Alcohol was at 13.5%. To me the flavors hewed toward the darker side. I tasted a core of baked blackberries, some pepper, distinct notes of rubber, tea leaf, and a touch of oak. I liked that it was a bit darker than many inexpensive Cabs. I would personally have preferred a little more tannin, but I still think it might do very well with casual meat dishes. In my opinion this is not one for cellaring, so drink up.