This Cabernet Sauvignon truly expresses its Rutherford AVA sourcing with tremendous saturation of color, aromas and flavors. The nose is ripe with fresh dark blackberry, black cherry and cassis notes alongside nuances of floral violet and sweet oak spices. On the palate, there are darker fruit notes supported by hints of dark chocolate and anise seed. The structured “Rutherford dust” tannins are fine grained and more rustic in style for this vintage, showcasing the signature fine cocoa powder texture and expansive mouthfeel. Incredibly elegant and balanced, with vibrant acidity from the perfect growing season provides concentration, depth and freshness on the finish.
The extended drought was causing concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, around Labor Day, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally-sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended mild season helped balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors. Considered a perfect harvest and a winemaker’s dream vintage, conditions were perfect for producing a Cabernet with beautiful fruit as well as tremendous concentration of flavors, highly saturated color, and layers of complexity.
We selected 80 percent of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for this wine from vineyard blocks in our historic BV Ranches No. 1, No. 2 and No.10, which provided the concentrated dark-fruit character and firm structure that we desired. These vineyards, located on the Rutherford Bench, have alluvial fan soils—composed of gravel, sand and loam—that allow the vines to root deeply and develop complex minerality in the grapes. The balance came from highly regarded growers whom we have worked closely with us for many years.
We cold soaked the destemmed grapes for two to three days for gentle flavor extraction, which develops the elegant, layered fruit expression that is inherent in Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. During the eight- to twelve-day fermentation, we pumped over the cap to incorporate the flavor-rich skins into the juice. To balance the bold fruit expression with toasty oak character, we chose more than half new oak for barrel aging and added Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah and Merlot to enhance the complex flavor profile.
- Varietal Composition:
- 92% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 6% Petit Verdot
- 2% Malbec
- Aged: 15 months in French, American, and European oak (60% new) barrels
- Alc: 14.6%
- TA: 6.3 g/L
- pH: 3.54
Considering this is the biggest production wine from this producer, it’s really impressive. Redcurrants, blackcurrants, spearmint, aniseed, cedar, sage and pine needles. Very refined with fresh berries, interlaced between savory notes, the layers of tannins driven along by bright acidity. Drink now or hold. Better after 2021. - James Suckling 92 points
Beaulieu’s large vineyard holdings in Rutherford allow the winery to produce a blend to exhibit the subregion’s typicity. It’s aged in 60% new French oak, and has a dense and toasty nose with blackberry and blackcurrant aromas and a touch of menthol. It’s suave, concentrated, and polished on the palate, with balancing acidity to give some spice and lift. Since the tannins are not that evident, the wine is accessible and textured, with a long, balanced finish. - Decanter Magazine 91 points