Saturday, June 1, 2024

BV Tapestry Reserve with Tenderloin Filet of Beef

Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve 1997 with Tenderloin Filet of Beef

Linda bought a full tenderloin of beef and trimmed it and cut it up to craft a couple of filets of beef for dinner. She does this often to get a better cut of beef and have the chance to cut her own beef steaks from the side. She grilled the beefsteaks on the gas grill and served them with Caesar salad and escalloped potatoes. 

We both felt it proved to be a great pairing, and showed even better with the dessert, tuxedo chocolate cake with fresh berries and whipped cream! 

I pulled from the cellar this Bordeaux varietal blend from Napa Valley as an accompaniment to pair with the grilled beefsteaks. Normally, I would seek a ‘Goldilock’s’ Vintage bottle, one not to young and not too old for our respective taste preferences. Tonight, I took a chance and pulled a 1997 vintage Napa Bordeaux Blend.

I’ve written often in these pages about the Napa Valley 1997 vintage Cabernet Sauvignons - how it was a highly rated vintage, following a lackluster off-vintage in 1998, resulting in high expectations (and prices) back in the day. And, over the ensuing years, the 1997 seemed to under-achieve, being closed and less than inspiring. Meanwhile, the panned 1998 vintage was vibrant and enjoyable, and a great bargain in the decade that followed release. 

This bottle, Beaulieu Vineyards "Tapestry Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux Blend, was one of a full case that I acquired upon release, and still hold several bottles. 

We hold a dozen and half vintages of this label, a Bordeaux varietal blend, that I love to taste for such occasions. Interesting that of the three dozen bottles, from fifteen different vintages we hold of this label, according to our CellarTracker records, the 1997 is the only one that was packaged in a heavy over-size ultra-premium bottle. 

Based on our experience with this vintage over the years, I was half expecting this to be lackluster, and perhaps even past its prime drinking window, on the downslope of its drinking curve, and certainly beyond suitable drinking for Linda, who prefers younger, less aged wines. 

In fact, tonight, this bottles was a pleasant surprise, meeting lofty expectations for the vintage release, and still showing much fruit to suit Linda’s expectations as well as my own. 

At twenty-seven years, the foil, label, and most importantly the fill level, and more importantly, the cork, were in pristine condition, not showing any diminution from aging whatsoever. 

I opened and double decanted the bottle before serving, and when I tapped it, bright fruit aromas filled the room. It showed no diminution from aging and held up well, appearing to still be at the apex of its drinking window. Of course, for the first decade, perhaps two, after release, these bottles seemed closed and not yet ready to present themselves in their best light. Hence, I avoided, or at least tread lightly in opening 1997 Napa Cabernet the last several years, and if this bottle is an indication, it’s time! My published tasting notes archive in these pages show twelve previous tasting of this vintage/label. 

My records and tasting notes indicate I opened at least ten of those bottles in the first decade following release. Tonight’s tasting showed this bottle being better than one opened and written about back in 2016, shown below. 

Beaulieu Vineyards "Tapestry Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux Blend 1997

BV - Beaulieu Vineyards is one of the most storied estates, producers and vineyards in Napa Valley, dating back more than a hundred years. The Tapestry bottling is BV’s lower priced homage to Clarets and Old-World Bordeaux blends. Half of the fruit comes from the Rutherford AVA, rounded out with grapes from Coombsville, Oakville, and Calistoga. The label tends to provide a high QPR - Quality Price Ratio, for a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeaux varietal blend, especially when compared with their flagship Georges de Latour label, another Napa Cab Bordeaux blend, that sells for as much as three to four times the price! 

This release was given 94 points by Wine Spectator and 92 points by Wine Enthusiast. Wine Spectator gave it a “Top 100 of 2000” and a Spectator Selection, in 2000. 

Tonight, this was most consistent with an earlier tasting in 2009 when I wrote - Subtle berry, dark cherry, slight earthy leather, licorice on the moderate tannin finish, and gave it 90 points.

Wine Spectator described it as “Big, bold, rich and polished, this is an immense and deeply concentrated Cabernet blend laden with ripe plum, currant, anise, green olive and cedar notes and finishing with gripping tannin.” 

As I have noted, I think the 1997 release was overhyped and over-rated at the time. 

Winemaker’s notes for this release - “Dark ruby-violet color. The deep character of the '97 vintage is revealed in the fine, vanilla-scented, allspice, clove, blackberry and cherry bouquet of this wine. The youthful flavors are very deep and full-bodied, showing ripe, mouth-filling, anise and black fruit character. Richly textured, with firm but ripe tannins, there is plenty of extract and flesh to balance the structure. Persistent minerality and spicy fruit in the finish add complexity and depth to this powerful wine, which should reach its peak in a decade, though it is opulent enough now to enjoy with rich meat dishes.”

 In 2016 I wrote, One of the remaining bottles of a case acquired upon release, my tasting journal index shows eleven previous tasting notes published for this wine.

Dark garnet colored, starting to show some rust orange hues and slight bricking on the edges showing some diminution from aging, medium-full bodied, an initial funkiness burned off soon after opening eventually showing and drinking fine, like when younger.

Black berry and black cherry fruits, slight earthy leather, licorice and a tone of bark on the moderate tannin finish. Opened further and softened more over the course of the evening.

Earlier tasting notes indicated further softening and enhanced fruit revealed a day later.

RM 89 points.