At well over 100 years old, the Beaulieu Vineyard, or BV, is one of the oldest wineries in the Napa Valley. It’s best known for its Cabernet Sauvignons, including the storied Georges de Latour Private Reserve, a highly collectible wine that lists for $145 on BV’s website.
For a fraction of the price, BV’s “Rutherford” Cabernet has been a consistent winner among mid-range Napa Cabs, and the 2015 Rutherford is no exception.
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I remember when the Rutherford was a solid, $15-or-so value, a step up from BV’s budget “Beautour” wine, which, in its day, probably provided countless 20-somethings their first decent taste of Napa Cab.
Today, the 2015 Rutherford sells for $42 on BV’s website, though on Wine-Searcher you can find it for as little as $30 or so.
This is quintessential Napa Cabernet, with beautiful balance even with its relatively high alcohol of 14.6 percent. Concentrated notes of blackberry and red fruits are accented by touches of cocoa, green olive, and spice. Silky tannins and ample acidity provide an elegant framework. Some Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah, and Merlot are used for added complexity.
While the wine is a pleasure to drink now, it should evolve nicely over the next several years. It’s a classic Napa Cab for grilled or pan-seared steak, preferably with a little char, and will pair well with grilled lamb and pork.
Most of the grapes are from BV’s own vineyards in the Rutherford appellation of Napa. The wine is widely available and is an excellent value, especially if you can find it at the lower end of the price range.
With its Rutherford and others, BV has withstood the test of time – an old brand still producing exciting new Napa wines in the second century of its life.