Several weeks ago, I was on a discussion panel at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium. A few days after the event, I was contacted by Rachel Beauregard of Beauregard Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation and asked to try their wines. I have never been to the winery, but Rachel assures me that there is plenty of great riding and after trying the wines, there is no doubt I have to find my way there soon.
2013 Beauregard Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Ben Lomond Mountain: Retail $80. 100% Chardonnay. As a wine geek, you are always looking for something different, or rare—not too long ago, un-oaked Chardonnays, earthy Pinots, and reserved Cabernets fell into that “rare” category, but not anymore. When it comes to sparkling wines, though, there are a few rarities still left to explore and this wine checks a few of those boxes. First, this wine is a Blanc de Blancs (which means it is only made from white grapes, in this case only Chardonnay). Second, it is a vintage, which while admittedly not all that rare in the U.S., it does set it apart somewhat. Third, and perhaps the rarest, it is a Brut Nature. (In most cases during the sparkling wine process, a little sugar is added back into the wine after the second fermentation is complete and immediately after the dead yeast cells are removed. This is known as the “dosage” and the added sweetness is meant to lessen the impact of the sometimes intense acidity. This wine has no sugar added, leaving all the flavors and tartness unmasked—and a wine geek’s dream style.) Wonderful nose of citrus, almond and green apple. Completely dry on the palate, which immediately heightens the appetite both for food and another sip—this is a perfect example why sparkling wines are perhaps the most versatile of food wines (I paired this with steak and it was fantastic). This is a wonderful sparkler—unique in many ways and certainly challenges the traditional conception of bubbles. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2015 Beauregard Estate Grown Chardonnay Beauregard Ranch Ben Lomond Mountain: Retail $55. Although vines had been planted on Ben Lomond Mountain since the 1860’s, the region was not “on the map” until the late 1970’s when it became known as a quality region to grow Pinot Noir, becoming an AVA in 1983. Currently, Beauregard is the only producer that makes a wine that boasts the AVA on the label. The four by sixteen mile region starts at about 1,300 feet in the western portion of the Santa Cruz mountains and climbs up to 2,600 feet—resting above the fog line. The altitude and proximity to the ocean ensure a cool (but sunny) growing season, perfect for Chardonnay (and Pinot Noir). Only six barrels (138 cases) of this wine, that spent almost a year in neutral oak, were made. A delicate pale yellow, with subtle hints of white peach, lemon curd, and even Asian pear. On the palate, this is simply lovely—delicate yet confident, the fruit, acidity, and subtle oak influence meld together into a wonderful wine. I spent a while trying to decide what part of Burgundy this would call home, but in the end, while decidedly “old world” in approach, this wine alone convinced me that I need to visit its place. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2014 Beauregard Pinot Noir Beauregard Ranch Ben Lomond Mountain: Retail $60. Those of you that have been reading for a while know that I am a Pinot geek—I take the variety seriously (well as seriously as I am able to take anything, which admittedly is not all that intense—as long as I don’t have to write another dissertation, I should be pretty relaxed). I figure I must have consumed my weight in the wine that Burgundy made famous at least a few hundred times over. Does that make me an “expert”? Most certainly not, but I can say without much hesitation that I have perseverated over this bottle far more than most of the Pinots I drink. Why? I am not quite sure as it is hard to place. Certainly not an Old World style as there is plenty of rich fruit. Yet, it is not firmly in the New World camp either as this is an acid driven wine with mint, sage, and earth. Had I tasted it blind (I wish I had), I would have guessed “Californian” for the aforementioned fruit and the decided eucalyptus note that figures prominently on the nose. I have to admit, that I was not completely enamored with this wine initially as it seemed a bit shy and gangly, but I let it sit overnight and compose itself a bit. What a difference. It is still between those two “Worldly” styles, but it has come together nicely and is wonderful. My advice? Buy a few bottles and forget about them until you finish that dissertation. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.