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 Cabernet Sauvignon Beauregard Ranch Ben Lomond Mountain: Retail $100. I am going to be right up front on this wine: it threw me for a loop. Why? Well, I have never been a huge Cabernet fan mostly because they are either too Old World (green, austere, tannic) or too New World (big fruit, high alcohol, syrupy). This Beauregard starts out as decidedly a part of the former: a bit of green, black, and white pepper on the nose with additional notes of raspberry and just a hint of mocha. On the palate, however, the situation takes a sudden right turn: fruity and luscious, quite far from austere. There is a hint of tannin, but the wine is much more hedonistic than introspective once it gets past the initial “how-do-you-do” phase. The result? This is an intriguing wine, one that challenges perceptions and biases. One that calls into question pre-conceived notions and assumptions. For me, that is good. Nay, very good, as I believe growth is only achieved through reflection. Is that too “heavy” a notion to attribute to a bottle of wine? Perhaps, but isn’t that a better view of the world than a more literal approach? Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2015 Beauregard Estate Chardonnay Bald Mountain Vineyard Ben Lomond Mountain: Retail $50. I am a fan of Chardonnay in all its forms: naked, oaky, over-the-top, understated. You name it, I will drink it. There are some styles that I prefer, certainly, and those that either come from the Côte de Beaune or Chablis (or mimic those styles). Some might say that makes me a Burgundy snob. So be it. As such, when I come across a wine that purports to be Burgundian, well, I am skeptical. This Beauregard, however, coms as close as any. On the winery’s website, it stresses that this wine needs time—even up to and past a decade’s worth of time. And, I would have to agree. Slightly yellow with a green tint on the edge, this is fairly tart and tightly wound, with the a subtle hint of oak. There is plenty of acidity to hold this together for quite some time, but alas, one of the “jobs” of a wine writer is to open bottles far too early and assess them (I know, tough job). Well, I would love to be able to pop this one open again after my eight grader goes off to college. Or maybe my third-grader. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2013 Beauregard Zinfandel Beauregard Ranch Ben Lomond Mountain: Retail $35. Since I started down this path of wine appreciation, I like to think that I have expanded my preferences beyond my initial sparkling wine and Pinot Noir tendencies. I have discovered that there are many different styles of wine worthy of note and I now welcome (even seek out) time spent outside of my comfort zone. In fact, I have actually expanded that comfort zone quite a bit, and it now includes cool-climate Zinfandel. While I am not sure if this Zin would technically qualify as “cool climate” the grapes are grown on Ben Lomond Mountain at an altitude of 1700-1850 feet. This results in a beautifully reserved wine, with rich fruit, but also brilliant acidity. Without a doubt, this is a “Pinot-lover’s type of Zin.” Fruit, yes, but complexity, balance, and even a splash of verve. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2014 Beauregard Estate Pinot Noir Coast Grade Vineyard Ben Lomond Mountain: Retail $60. Sadly, this is the last Beauregard wine that they sent me to sample. At least for now (I hope). All the wines really were stellar, but this just might be the best of the bunch. I am a sucker for a well-made Pinot Noir and this has all the requisite elements: great fruit (bright and tart cherry), plenty of earthy tones (pine, menthol, eucalyptus), brilliant acidity, and loads of depth (the finish lasted well past a minute). I have to admit that the winery had never been on my radar, but after tasting through a bit of the gamme, I can say that it safely is now on said radar—with a big, red, bold bullseye on it, too. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.