Wine Tasting in Napa Valley: 80th Anniversary Georges de Latour Tasting Experience

A trip to Wine Country can feel overwhelming with so many wineries, tasting rooms, restaurants and tasting options. Luckily I am here to help you! Recently, my friend Elizabeth and I had the pleasure of experiencing one of the classic Nap Valley wineries, Beaulieu Vineyards (BV for short) newest tasting celebrating 80 years of their George La Tour Cabernet Sauvignon. This tasting is incredibly special and something you don’t want to miss among the wineries in Rutherford CA!

First a Little History

Beaulieu Vineyard was originally established in 1900 as one of the earlier Napa Valley wineries when Georges de Latour and his wife Ferande traveled to Rutherford from France. George had a vision of making Napa Valley wines that would rival those of his native home land. He quickly made a name for himself by importing a Phylloxera-resistant (a root stock disease that had decimated the California wine industry in the late 1800s). He managed to grow his business during Prohibition by selling sacramental wine to the Catholic Church. In 1938, George traveled back to France and met Andre Tchelistcheff, a famous viticulturist and enologists who would change the shape of the Napa Valley wine industry. The first vintage of BV’s Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was born in 1940, after Tchelistcheff tasted the family’s private wine, and insisted that it be bottled and sold as BV’s flagship wine.

The Tasting

The 80th Anniversary Georges de Latour Tasting Experience celebrates BV’s exceptional history of making fantastic wines. The tasting consists of five wines: 1975 Georges de Latour Cab, 1981 Georges de Latour Cab, 2015 Clone 4 Cab, 2016 Georges de Latour Cab, and 2018 Georges de Latour Cab from the barrel. We were lucky enough to also try the 2016 Clone 6 Cab and the Tapestry Cab.

The Experience

The Georges de Latour tasting takes place in the Private Reserve room at BV, one of the wineries in Rutherford CA, across the parking lot from the main tasting salon. Elizabeth and I arrived a few minutes early and made our way into the cozy space. Our host, Charlie, greeted us with a splash of the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc. The Sauvignon Blanc is done in the french style and is very crisp and fresh. It was the perfect palate cleanser before our Cabernet tasting.

1975 Georges de Latour

One of the special things about this tasting is the opportunity to taste older wines from the beginning of Napa Valley wine history. Charlie warned us that the color of the 1975 and 1981 was going to be much more brown than we were used to. The nose was almost non existent but on the palate were lots of notes of dried orange and cranberry. One thing we did not pick up, which is common in older wines, was notes of green olive or soy sauce. Truly a unique gem among Napa Valley wineries.

1981 Georges de Latour

The 1981 had a lot more going on than the 1975. The nose had a strong smell of expensive cognac and many more fruit notes on the palate with a peppery finish. Charlie described pairing the 1981 with a nice steak covered in a bernaise sauce that had both our mouths watering.

2015 Clone 4

The Georges de Latour is made up of a blend of two unique clones of Cabernet Sauvignon: Clone 4 and Clone 6. BV also makes single clone Cabs from both. We got to try Clone 4, my favorite of the day. The 2015 was smooth with lots of hints of bing cherry, black currant, and dark plum. The tannins were soft and subtle. This is the type of Cabernet that can be paired with food, or not. 

2016 Georges de LaTour

Finally it was time to taste the newest release of Georges de LaTour Cabernet Sauvignon. The current release is served in a special Riedel crystal wine glass designed by George Reidel himself! The shape of the glass was designed so you can perfectly enjoy this particular wine. The wine is beautiful. On the nose had strong hints of jasmine (a first for me with a cabernet) and tasted just like a Napa Cabernet should. 

2018 Georges de LaTour

Last on our tasting was a barrel sample of the 2018 Georges de LaTour. This was a treat! Normally you would need to go on a tour to get try something from the barrel. It was so fun to compare the current release with this unfinished wine. The wine is already developing complex notes. I cannot wait to come back in two years and try it when its the current release!

In Conclusion…

Whether you are already a wine connoisseur and love old wines or are new to library wines and want to learn what they are all about, the 80th Anniversary Georges de Latour Tasting Experience is for you. At $75 (and that includes the fancy glass to take home!) this tasting is the perfect way to spend a Napa Valley afternoon among wineries in Rutherford CA.