2006 Beaulieu Vineyards Dulcet Reserve

Brick wall.

Rating: Too dense to get past. 

The rest of the story...
Beaulieu Vineyards is one of the most prestigious names in Napa Valley.  Its beginnings can be traced back to the turn of the century - no, not this century, last century.  And BV can lay claim to having being led by one of California's most respected names in winemaking - AndrĂ© Tchelistcheff.

Ranging from sub-$10 wines in their Coastal line all the way up to the George De Latour Private Reserve Cabernet ($100-ish), BV is one of Napa's powerhouse wineries.  Somewhere in between those two extremes sits the Reserve line of wines.  This includes two blends, the justifiably renowned Tapestry and the Dulcet.

The Dulcet is a 69/31 Cab-Syrah blend made up of Napa juice.  Details on BV's site are thin (and at least part of the shopping cart is broken), but we suspect that this is all estate fruit.

We were forewarned that this sucker needs to breathe, so we let it.  For eight hours.  And we decanted it.  Twice.

It's color is lovely and a mouthfeel to match.  But this wine is so strong that its intensity is tough to get around, despite all the air time.  There's fruit in there someplace, but the wine is so heavily framed by oak that it's hard to taste.  Tannins are nowhere near soft, but at least they're well-integrated.  If its fruit flavors shined through this brick wall of structure, this could be a stellar wine.  Alas, we were left somewhat puckered and disappointed.  A decade in the bottle might alleviate some of the intensity, but don't hold your breath.  The acid balance just isn't there.

We paid $19.99 for this wine on sale.  The regular price is $39.99.  And now we know why it's half off.

BONUS: While researching this wine we came across a sizzling deal on BV's website.  They are blowing out 2003 Tapestry - a formidable wine - for $329/case.  That's $27.41/bottle before shipping.  Considering the list price is $60 and the fact that the 2003 is probably drinking very nicely right now, that's a hell of a deal.