Just call it BV

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  • Famed viticulturist André Tchelistcheff came to work at BV

    Famed viticulturist André Tchelistcheff came to work at BV

It was in the year 1900 that Fernande, the wife of Georges de Latour, first looked out over a piece of land in the Rutherford area of Napa Valley.

She called it “beau lieu” or “beautiful place”. There were not many French folks in this valley then, and so when Georges founded Beaulieu Vineyard in that same year, I suspect that many would not correctly pronounce it “boal yuu” and so it became commonly known as BV.

When prohibition hit and most wineries shuttered, BV watched its business increase fourfold as they sold sacramental wine to the Catholic Church.

In 1938, André Tchelistcheff, famed viticulturist and enologist in France, came to work at BV and instituted the philosophy of continuous innovation in vineyard and winery to which they remain dedicated today. When he joined Beaulieu and tasted the de Latour family’s private wine — what they called Private Reserve — from the 1936 vintage, he insisted it be bottled and sold as the winery’s flagship offering.

In 1940, Beaulieu Vineyard released the first vintage of Private Reserve and named it in the founder’s honour. The resulting wine became the first release of Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that was destined to become Napa Valley’s first “cult” cabernet. A day and evening spent with Russian-born Tchelistcheff (known as The Maestro), is a time that my wife and I will always cherish.

My purpose today is to tell you about our recently imported Coastal BV wines made for everyday enjoyment, but first a little about their showcase offering. We may be out of the BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 in our shops, but more is expected before the end of this month.

Here are comments from critic Wilfred Wong: “One could say that I cut my teeth on the Georges de Latour. The 2013 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve, a magnificent wine — ranking up there with the winery’s incredible 1951, the formidable 1958, the substantial 1968, and the irrepressible 1970 — is one of the very best wines from one of Napa Valley’s finest vintages. The wine is deep in colour and offers cassis, pencil lead, and savoury dust in its aromas and flavours. The seamlessness of the wine is admirable. Though the wine is just beginning to reveal its tremendous pedigree, you can put this one in the bank as a treasure for the cellar. 98/100. Tasted: April 18, 2017, San Francisco, California.” Present price is $134.95 and I do not expect it to change. In 1991, the retired Tchelistcheff returned briefly to work with winemaker Jeffrey Stambor and together they tasted 50 vintages as they discussed the effects of vintage and bottle age — remarkable!

Oh and I had better quickly mention BV Tapestry 2013 that may also be suffering from lack of stock, but is expected in shortly. Tapestry reflects the 2013 growing season with its dense, powerful aromas and flavours, with bold structure. This is a wine that shows the artistry of blending five Bordeaux-heritage grape varieties, which contributed layer upon layer of flavour complexity. Cabernet sauvignon gave the wine its generous core of briary blackberry and cassis expression, while they increased the amount of merlot this year to tame the tannins and add plush mid-palate texture. Malbec contributed deep plum notes, while cabernet franc and petit verdot completed the blend with nuances of rose, forest loam and graphite. $76.60.

And now a few words about the BV Coastal Estates that are all line-priced at $16.65 a bottle. We have the usual suspects: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.

The pinot noir 2015 is soft and inviting, layering strawberries, red cherries and ripe plums with warm spices from French oak. A hint of syrah, with its serious rich fruits and earthy tones, lends depth and complexity. The cabernet sauvignon 2015 exudes rich varietal character. A bramble of ripe blackberries and dark Bing cherries are accented by hints of cocoa, coffee and spice. Supple tannins cradle the juicy palate as the intense flavours carry into a long finish. 2015 merlot is lively and bright with hints of ripe plums and black cherry, even a hint of coffee.

Sauvignon blanc 2015 is fresh and inviting and opens with bright tropical fruit and lofty citrus aromas. The liveliness of the fruit continues on the palate in a juicy combination of grapefruit, guava and passion fruit. Vivacious and engaging, this vibrant wine has bright flavours, fleshy mouth feel and a long and juicy finish. The 2015 chardonnay is supple and round and evolves into layers of pineapple, red apple and vanilla as well as a touch of toasty oak spices.

BV Coastal Wines donate $1 each on the first 50,000 bottles sold each year to Oceana, the largest international advocacy organisation focused solely on ocean conservation. They seek to make our oceans more biodiverse and abundant by winning policy victories in the countries that govern much of the world’s marine life. Their offices around the world work together to win strategic, directed campaigns that achieve measurable outcomes that will help make our oceans more biodiverse and abundant.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm

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Published Aug 25, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 24, 2017 at 8:28 pm)

Just call it BV

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