Founded in 1900 by Georges de Latour, a native of France, and led for many years by the legendary winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff, Beaulieu Vineyard has one of the oldest and most romantic histories in the Napa Valley. De Latour bought his first vineyard in Rutherford and named it “beau lieu,” French for "beautiful place.” His vision was to create a serene wine chateau and the estate is still one of the most scenic in the region. Beaulieu’s Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon dates back to the 1930s, and it quickly became one of California’s premier wines. Tchelistcheff, trained as a wine master in France, shaped the character of BV’s wines during the 1950s and 1960s. Today the winery is still famous for its BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve, but also makes Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel, thanks in part to the acquisition of vineyards in other parts of Napa Valley. Altogether the winery owns 1,029 acres and produces a total of 750,000 bottles a year.
Carneros AVA, also known as Los Carneros, is at the southern end of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys at the top of the San Francisco Bay. The 8,000 vineyard acres are mostly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both of which thrive in the district’s cool, marine climate. Carneros became an AVA in 1983 and it has attracted foreign wine companies along with local producers. It has been especially appealing to European producers of sparkling wines including the giant Spanish cava producers Codorniu and Frexinet, and the French Champagne house Taittinger. Codorniu in Carneros is called Artesa, and Frexinet’s Carneros brand is Gloria Ferrer. Taittinger calls its Carneros winery Domaine Carneros. The European producers also make still wines in Carneros.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.