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Beaulieu Vd. Georges de Latour 1977 - 1984


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Notes from a dinner tasting featuring Californian wines.

1995 Merryvale Starmont Chardonnay – not showing too much colour, fermented in small French oak, but by now all that has melded into the wine, which had good acidity and a pleasant toasty impression. Nice whistle wetter before the main wines.

1991 Shafer Napa Cabernet – a lovely mature nose with fruit and vanilla, and a very tasty wine, smooth with resolved tannins, ready to drink now and will hold a few more years.

The next four wines were Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour Cabernet. I’ve always found these wines interesting as they use American oak, but it doesn’t seem to come across that way in the wines. Some of these were bought on release at the winery when I used to travel to Monterey (Laguna Seca) to race old sports cars and would come back through Napa on the way back to Canada.

1977 - still quite a dark wine with lightening only at the edges. A warm ripe nose of some intensity, and warm and smooth in the mouth, much more open than the last time I tasted this several years ago. Excellent length.

1980 – dark also, this time with a slight hint of mint in the nose, and neither as ripe nor as hot as the 1977, but otherwise quite similar.

1982 – vanilla and spice nose and good fruit on palate with some tannins still evident. I liked this, but not as much as the previous two.

1984 – such a wonderful vintage, but BV wasn’t among the top wineries in terms of what they made of it. Hint or rubber in the nose, some tannin on palate, and adequate fruit. This one was OK but just wasn’t in the same league as the others.

We left the main course BBQ lamb for cheese and opened some Zin with it.

1995 Ravenswood Old Vines Zinfandel – 14.5% alcohol and a warm fruit based nose but at this age it no longer showed the black cherries or blackberries that tip you to this varietal. Fairly ripe and a little simple.

1994 Renwood Grandpere Zinfandel – a notch or two up with this one (15.2%). Black pepper, spice and tea in the nose, berries and vanilla in the mouth, very good body and rich long finish. Probably won’t improve from here but should hold. An example of why I take the chance of aging Zinfandels.

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