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Flat front label of wine

Beaulieu Vineyard Ensemble Signet Collection 1998

Other Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • WE89
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Winemaker Notes

Medium intense ruby-violet color. The complex aromas reveal scents of wild cherry, strawberry jam, anise, and mint chocolate and cooked meat. Medium-full bodied, well-centered, spicy blackfruit and dark chocolate flavors are gracefully filled out by hints of black pepper, roast meat and roasted cherries in the finish. There is also a supple mid-palate texture, with ripe but subtle tannins in the firm fresh finish providing relief and style. The 1998 Ensemble drinks well now, but surely will improve with 4-6 years aging.

Critical Acclaim

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Beaulieu Vineyard

Beaulieu Vineyard

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Beaulieu Vineyard, Napa Valley, California
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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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

NDF22804_1998 Item# 15593