Saturday, September 12, 2009

Beauregard Vineyards

Last weekend I took the kids to Felton, to rider on the the Roaring Camp railway. On the way home I wanted to show them where the Lockheed fire had burned, but that whole area seems to be shut off behind security fences; one of the reasons that the fire covered such a large area was because it's pretty much inaccessible wilderness.

Since we were in the Bonny Doon area I decided to call in on Beauregard Vineyards. About a year ago they took over Randall Grahm's old Bonny Doon tasting room and winery on Pine Flat Road and I hadn't been there yet.

Although the Beauregard label has only existed for around 10 years, the family has 60 years of viticultural experience. Amos Beauregard first planted vineyards in 1949. The family petitioned for the establishment of the Ben Lomond AVA, and Jim Beauregard used to own the Felton Empire winery, which is now Hallcrest. His son, winemaker Ryan Beauregard represents the fourth generation. The winery is renowned for their Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, though they also produce several other wines including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The tasting fee is $5 and covers five wines.

2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County
Regular readers will know I'm not a great fan of Californian Sauvignon Blanc. This is a reasonable example; a pleasant floral nose with, gooseberry, citrus and pear. On the palate it shows lime sorbet & gooseberry; there's crisp acidity yet a rounded mouthfeel. 87 I'd find it hard to justify the $17 asking price given what's coming in from New Zealand for less, but this month it's on sale for $100 a case and at that price it's very tempting.

2006 Chardonnay, Trout Gulch Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
The Trout Gulch vineyard was owned by Bernie Turgeon, founder of Turgeon & Lohr, which became J. Lohr after he sold his share. In 1988 Bernie and his son Gerry re-entered the business and made some very nice Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from this 25 acre ranch near Aptos. Bernie has now retired, and while Gerry continues the Trout Gulch label, the vineyard is now leased by Beauregard.
Toasty, with lemon zest and red apples on the nose. flavours of tart lemon, vanilla and a touch of honey, with a long, mineral (baking powder) finish. 90 $35

2006 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains
A blend of fruit from Trout Gulch Vineyard and Bald Mountain Vineyard.
The nose shows lemon, vanilla ice-cream and wet stones. Flavours of creamy lemon and green apple; similar minerality on the finish to the previous wine. 89 $22 a bottle, but on sale for $180 a case - a very good price. Value

2006 Pinot Noir, Trout Gulch Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
Nose shows caramel, cranberry, cherry and smoke. On the palate there's plenty of rich fruit - cherry and raspberry - and oak. Notes of sour cherry on the finish. 90 and drinking nicely now. $45

2006 Pinot Noir, Bald Mountain Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
There's a really earthy / forest floor component to the nose, with lots of dried cherries. Overall there is so much more complexity; lots of rich fruit and cola, with a mineral finish. 91 with room to improve. $45