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.
2014 Beauregard Pinot Gris Regan Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountain: Retail $30. Even before I pulled the cork on this bottle, there was a lot to love. For starters, it is an “orange wine” which refers to a white wine that is made as if it were a red wine (skin contact, maceration, etc.). Wine geeks fall all over themselves when it comes to orange wines since they are generally far outside the norm—and let’s face it, the “norm” can be boring at times. Second, it is a Pinot Gris, which is a bit of a confused grape as it looks more red than white as a grape (while “gris” means “gray” the grape is decidedly a dark pink). Next, it is a 2014! While normally I would not be doing somersaults over a wine that is a mere 2.5 years old, even the Beauregard website says this wine should be “consumed young, ideally by the end of 2016.” Seeing that this landed on my doorstep well into 2017, some might see that as a bit of a negative. Not me! I always say that the single hardest element to buy in the wine world is age—there are just a ton of reasons why that is true. But here it was, an oldish bottle for me to try. As for the wine? I really, really like it—but it is certainly outside the “norm.” The color is a brilliant reddish-pink—darker than a rosé, but much lighter than a red and the vibrant aromas and lush palate push the limits of the standard wine flavor wheel. If the average rosé lover picked this up thinking it was a casual patio sipper, they would initially be disappointed, as this wine needs focus and attention. Give it that and you might just become a wine geek (if not already). Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2013 Beauregard Syrah Zayante Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains: Retail $35. There was a time, not too long ago, that Syrah was going to be the “next best thing.” I am not sure what happened along the way, but that never happened. My guess is that, in general, Syrah is caught between Pinot and Cabernet: it has some of the earthiness and sense of place of a Pinot and some of the heft and brute force of a Cab. For most consumers, it seems, they have made the choice between the two and rarely venture into the other camp. Syrah, therefore was seen as a bit of a peacekeeper, bridging the divide. Well, much like politics in this country, it seems as though most wine drinkers have made their choice and dare not seek any compromise or middle ground. For both the country and wine lovers, that is a shame—Pinot lovers need to appreciate fruit and power while Cab drinkers need a little more finesse and subtlety (I will refrain from continuing the analogy to the political realm as it will render my mood even more morose). If, however, there are still wine lovers out there looking to broaden their perspective, this is a fine place to start. Dark in color and on the nose, this is a bigger Syrah, but there is a delicate side as well, particularly on the palate with depth in the form of earth and spice. Syrah might never attain the lofty expectations, but this is a wine to break out if your Cab-loving in-law is coming over to talk politics. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2013 Beauregard Merlot Zayante Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains: Retail $35. OK, this is getting a bit ridiculous. I mean seriously. So far I have tasted through six or seven different varietal wines (and a sparkler) from Beauregard and they have all been stellar. That is perhaps not all that unusual, but typically the six (or seven) varieties in question do not tend to grow all that well in the same places. That just speaks to the varied terroir that must exist in the appellation—and why I must visit soon. This wine? More great, although restrained, fruit both in the glass and en bouche, but it is really the balance that is the hallmark of this and the other Beauregard selections. Nice acidity and a bit of tannin which both suggest that this Merlot has some time left, but really, why wait? Just short of a Whoa. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.