Beaulieu Vineyard Review
Address: 1960 South St. Helena Hwy. Rutherford,California 94573.
Phone Number: 800-264-6918
Tasting Hours: 10:00-5:00
Region: Napa Valley AVA, Rutherford AVA, California
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 7/9/2013
Reviewer: Becky Parr
I must admit that I wasnt terribly excited about visiting Napa‘s Beaulieu Vineyard. I think thats because BV wines are so widely available, and somehow in my mind I equated that with being over-commercialized, impersonal, and somehow not as good. After all, they make 240,000 cases a year, so how much attention can they pay? Right?
Happily, I was wrong.
The Place:  Upon entering Beaulieu Vineyards’ main tasting room, we were greeted with a complimentary glass of Carneros Reserve Chardonnay, which I thought was a very classy touch. They have ample tasting bar space, but the tasting room was pretty busy, so we had to wait a bit but does anyone really mind looking around while sipping a free glass of Chardonnay? I think not!
The tasting room is very attractive, filled with dark wood and plenty to look at. My friend said it reminded her of walking into a windmill, since the room was octagonally shaped and had a skylight. There was a separate room for the premium tasting, but we elected to stay in the main room and taste the wines more accessible to those of us with regular budgets.
The People:  When a place at the bar opened up, we were lucky enough to have Peter serving us. Peter retired from his “day job” and works at the tasting room for fun. He is a very pleasant and affable gentleman and did indeed seem to be having fun! By the time we got to the tasting counter, we were out of Chardonnay, but Peter very graciously opened some more for us. In fact, he opened two bottles; when he tasted the first, he found it to have an odd finish, so he set it aside and tried again. Once again, I found this very classy. He also let us know that the tasting room was located right down the street from BVs Napa vineyards.
The Wines:  There were two of us tasting, so we did the Maestro Tasting and the Premium Maestro Tasting ($15 and $20, respectively). The Chardonnay we had upon arrival was very crisp and pleasant, but not part of the Maestro series. Maestro is the series only sold from the winery, not distributed, so it was fun to have the opportunity to taste something we couldnt get at home. We had a Reserve Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet/Syrah blend, and two Cabernet Sauvignons from the Maestro series. All were very good. I was somewhat surprised at how different the two Cabernet Sauvignons were one was lighter, the other more jammy with a long finish.
Additional Points of Interest:  Beaulieu Vineyards’ website is well worth checking out if you want to learn about the history of the winery, which was founded in 1900. I found it quite amusing to learn that BV made it through Prohibition and even increased its sales by a goodly amount by landing a contract to sell wine to the Catholic Church for sacramental purposes.
BV is one of the Napa wineries that should definitely be on your next Napa Valley wine tasting itinerary. Ask for Peter!