From the Robb Cellar: April 2004
Beaulieu Vineyard 2000 Clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon
Despite its otherworldly name, Clone 6 remains one of a handful of limited-production, single-vineyard wines from Napa Valley to blend quality with consistency—a trait that has defined Beaulieu Vineyard creations since 1900, when Georges de Latour resuscitated winemaking in Napa’s Rutherford region after a devastating phylloxera epidemic. Latour and his winemaker, the fabled André Tchelistcheff, came to understand the terroir of their domain, achieving the reliable grace of BV’s wines through patience and persistence.
Clone 6 (named for the specific Cabernet vine from which it is made) in many ways resembles a more extracted and intense version of the producer’s Georges de Latour Private Reserve—an inviting composition of rich red fruit intermingled with toasted wood, smoke, and minerals, all supported by sturdy tannins. Though cooler-than-normal temperatures troubled the 2000 vintage, resulting in many weak or watery Cabernets, winemaker Joel Aiken and his team prevailed. This stout red, after being left open all night, still yielded a ripe berry nose, while its smoke and coffee flavors enveloped the palate—all of which suggests that it has a long and rewarding career ahead in the cellar. ($130)
Domaine de la Vougeraie 2001 Clos de Vougeot
Simply because nature favors a certain vintage does not mean the market will. Such is the case with the 2001 red Burgundies. The exceptional power of the 1999 wines and the anticipated arrival of what promise to be classics from 2002 have eclipsed this remarkable year in the minds of collectors. Among the unsung heroes of the vintage is Domaine de la Vougeraie’s Clos de Vougeot—an intense and fragrant Pinot Noir from perhaps the region’s grandest vineyard, planted 894 years ago by Cistercian monks. Though its vines are as much as 80 years old, the domaine itself was founded in 1999—a fact that this ink-dark Burgundy, with its smoke and floral perfumes laced with clove and a hint of pepper, belies. ($100)