Dark ruby-violet color. The deep character of the '97 vintage is revealed in the fine, vanilla-scented, allspice, clove, blackberry and cherry bouquet of this wine. The youthful flavors are very deep and full-bodied, showing ripe, mouth-filling, anise and black fruit character. Richly textured, with firm but ripe tannins, there is plenty of extract and flesh to balance the structure. Persistent minerality and spicy fruit in the finish add complexity and depth to this powerful wine, which should reach its peak in a decade, though it is opulent enough now to enjoy with rich meat dishes.
Beaulieu Vineyard Winery
The deep roots of Beaulieu Vineyard were first planted back in 1900, when founder Georges de Latour noticed similarities with his native Bordeaux and declared the Napa Valley ideal for winemaking. Planting vineyards in Rutherford with grafted, phylloxera-resistent French vines, the Cabernet Sauvignon that de Latour crafted from these grapes gave the world a taste of California's promise as a world-class winemaking region. In 1938, de Latour hired the young Russian-French enologist, Andre Tchelistcheff. Today, Beaulieu continues to turn to innovative practices. Most recently, they completed a new state-of-the-art winery within one of their original buildings. The Georges de Latour Private Reserve Winery utilizes the latest technology in combination with time-honored traditions for the production of this exceptional wine.
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California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA
, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA
, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA
, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few.
Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.