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Beaulieu Vineyard Rarity Napa Valley 2013 — An Other-Worldly Wine

Rarity is the name of a wine only released four times by B.V. since the original owner Georges de Latour bought his first vineyard in Napa Valley in 1900. The vintage of 2013 was perhaps the greatest in the history of Napa Valley. The winemaker, Jeffrey Stambor, along with the most famous consulting winemaker in the world, Michel Rolland, selected the very finest barrel selections — “…those with massive concentration, opulent expression and supple tannins — to create a limited release wine that celebrates the rarity granted by Mother Nature.”

My first taste of this wine immediately brought forth memories of 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc and 1961 Chateau Palmer — two of the greatest, over-the-top Bordeaux wines ever. Not seductive and beguiling like 1961 Chateau Margaux, this wine is huge, hedonistic, and offers the unique texture and weight of a wine one might find once in a generation. It is one of the 10 most incredible and powerful wines, along the lines of the most massive Massetos — even though Masseto is Merlot — that I have tasted since I became a wine writer 40 years ago!

The wine is made of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot, and aged in 100% new French and Russian Oak barrels for 22 months. Sold only in magnums at $1,250 each. An incredible bargain. Only 1,500 magnums produced.

Rosé Wines

Only five years ago, many were still avoiding dry rosé wines because “they didn’t go with anything.” Suddenly, rosés are the rage because they go with everything! From a vast tasting of rosés over the last two months, here are my selections as the best values in their respective
price ranges:

  • Marquis de Riscal Rioja Rosé — non-vintage $8.99
  • Little Black Dress Rosé California 2015 $11
  • Sterling Vintner’s Selection Rosé California 2016 $11
  • Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel Signature Selection 2016 $12
  • Villa Maria Rosé Private Bin Hawke’s Bay (New Zealand) 2016 $12
  • E. Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone Rosé 2016 $14
  • Vinum Rosé Wine Paso Robles “V” Series 2016 $14
  • J. Lohr Gesture Grenache Rosé Paso Robles 2015 and 2016 $18
  • KOKOMO Grenache Rosé 2016 $18
  • Barrymore Rosé of Pinot Noir by Carmel Road 2016 $18
  • Julia’s Dazzle Rosé Horse Heaven Hills (Washington) 2016 $19
  • La Crema Pinot Noir Rosé Monterey 2016 $20
  • Isabel Rosé California 2016 $20
  • Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé non-vintage $20
  • Chateau D’Esclans Cotes de Provence Whispering Angel 2016 $22
  • Justin Rosé Paso Robles 2016 $22.50
  • Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé Paso Robles 2016 $23
  • Martin Ray Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2016 $24
  • Stewart Rosé Sonoma Mountain 2016 $25
  • Clos Du Val Estate Pinot Noir Rosé Carneros 2016 $28

Just released, April 2017, is Rosé All Day by Katherine Cole. As a wine writer, I know that unimaginable time and effort were necessary for the production of such a book. A must for avid rosé fans. Abrams Image, $24.95.

Great White Wines for Summer Tasting from $8.50 to $55

  • Gnarley Head Chardonnay California 2015 $8.50
  • Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte’s Home Northern Sonoma 2016 $12
  • Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 $12.95
  • Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 $16
  • Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast 2015 $18
  • E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Blanc (Rhone Valley)2014 $20
  • Robert Mondavi Fume-Blanc NapaValley 2015 — still the standard-bearer. $20
  • Decoy Chardonnay Sonoma County 2015 $22
  • Groth Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2016 $22
  • Ladera Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2016 $30
  • Jordan Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2015 $32
  • Migration Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2015 $32
  • Martin Ray Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountain Bald Mountain Vineyard 2015 $35
  • Duckhorn Chardonnay Napa Valley 2015 $35
  • Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros 2015 $36
  • Sonoma-Loeb Chardonnay Carneros 2015 $38
  • Migration Chardonnay Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley 2015 $55

Excellent Value Dessert Wines

  • Royal Tokay Late Harvest (half bottle – Hungary) 2015 $21
  • Dow’s Port LBV (Late Bottled Vintage) 2011 $18
  • Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port non-vintage $18
  • Graham’s Port LBV 2009 $24
  • Optima 10 Year-Old Tawny Port (serve chilled) $30

Box Wines

A three-liter box wine contains four full bottles of wine. As the wines are poured from the spout, the balloon-like container inside the box collapses on the remaining wine so that no oxygen gets in to spoil the wine. My experience is that a box wine lasts around a month after the first pour. At $22 each, this means that you can have 20 five- ounce glasses of wine for a little over a dollar a glass!!! Some box wines are not good. Some are average. My three favorites are:

  • Bota Box Dry Rosé 2016
  • Black Box Rosé 2015
  • Earth Wise Red Blend 2015 — a successful blend of red Spanish varietals.

Restaurant Kudo

Fogo de Chão has just rolled out the largest Bar Menu and Happy Hour in 20 years. New features include an expanded menu including new Brazilian bites, Brazilian-inspired craft cocktails, South American wines and an enriched Bar Fogo Happy Hour program — 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. — at attractive price points (including delicious Braised Beef Rib Sliders topped with caramelized onions and smoked provolone).

It’s a new and updated Fogo de Chão. Try it. You’ll like it!


Beaulieu Vineyard Rarity Napa Valley 2013 —  An Other-Worldly Wine

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