Thursday, January 9, 2020

Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve 2013 at Pazzo's Chicago

Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve 2013 at Pazzo's

For a team dinner including our specialists in from Australia, Europe and North America, we dined  at Pazzo's Restaurant at what I call the 'wedding cake' building at 311 South Wacker in the south loop adjacent the historic Sears Tower, now called Willis Tower. I call it this due to the distinctive architecture and prominence of the lighted tiered tower at the pinnacle, highly visible in its high profile location and a landmark on the spectacular world class Chicago skyline. This is a convenient location just two blocks from out office.

Pazzo's is a popular daytime lunch restaurant in the elegant and picturesque sunken lobby, but is usually nearly empty at night as it was this evening. As a lunch site rather than dinner site, Pazzo's is  less elegant and not necessarily 'fine' dining but rather more pedestrian. With the standard Italian cuisine, they offer a modest minimalist winelist primarily of basic Italian labels supplemented by a handful of American labels. We selected from the winelist this Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve is the premium label offered but an excellent one if you're going offer but a few selections. Its interesting but strange that with such a limited selection, they're pouring a seven year old aged vintage of this label.

Tapestry is a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeaux Blend . I consider it a go-to wine, readily available and a safe reliable choice for easy drinking or special occasions, approachable when young but capable for aging. If your overwhelmed or intimidated by the plethora of wines available and not sure what to choose or take to or serve, Tapestry is a safe choice.

Our Cellartracker records indicate we hold more than a dozen vintages of this label dating back to the mid-nineties.  This is a classic Napa Valley label that provides high QPR - Quality Price Ratio for a Bordeaux Blend. Its another one of those high production label that I believe does a remarkable job achieving and maintaining the level of quality in high volumes and is approachable when young but also has significant aging capability for cellaring. James Suckling says this is "A wine that harkens back to its traditions.”

The 2013 release is a Bordeaux Blend anchored by Cabernet Sauvignon half sourced from the famous western benchlands of the Rutherford American Viticultural Area (AVA) and the balance from the Stags Leap District, St. Helena and Calistoga AVAs. The Merlot sourcing was split between BV Estate vineyards in the warmer parts of Carneros and the Rutherford Bench. The Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec came from estate vineyards in St. Helena and Calistoga. 

The blend is produced from select specific blocks of reserve-quality grapes that give Tapestry what they cite as combined attributes of fruit expression but also soft tannins for relatively early approachability.

This vintage release was awarded 94 Points by James Suckling and 90 Points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.

Dark garnet colored, medium to full bodied, nicely structured and balanced, complex aromas and flavors of predominant sweet ripe black raspberry and blackcurrant fruits accented by notes of tobacco, cedar, hints of cassis and what Robert Parker calls 'fruitcake and soil undertones', with very fine tannins and a polished, refined, textured finish.

"Vintage Notes The 2013 vintage yielded highly concentrated grapes that became generous, intense wines with muscular tannin structure. A very low-rainfall winter was followed by a dry, warm spring and nearly ideal summer, which led to an early harvest. These factors resulted in balanced vine canopies, excellent fruit set and small, concentrated grapes. Perfect weather throughout the harvest fostered intensely expressive and beautifully balanced wines.'

"Winemaking Notes We tailored the winemaking for each varietal to best capture the personality of both the vintage and specific vineyard block. Cold soaking of the destemmed grapes, gentle punch-downs in open-top fermentors and in-barrel malolactic fermentation all contributed to this wine’s richly textured flavors. Aging in 50 percent new oak barrels balanced the wine impressive depth varietal expression with toffee and spice nuances."

The winemaker's tasting notes say: "Our 2013 Tapestry reflects the 2013-growing season with its dense, powerful aromas and flavors, with bold structure. This is a wine that shows the artistry of blending five Bordeaux-heritage grape varieties, which contributed layer-upon-layer of flavor complexity. Cabernet Sauvignon gave the wine its generous core of briary blackberry and cassis expression, while we increased the amount of Merlot this year to tame the tannins and add plush mid-palate texture. Malbec contributed deep plum notes, while Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot completed the blend with nuances of rose, forest loam and graphite.'

RM 92 points.