Beau Vigne Napa Valley operates a small tasting room in Yountville behind Washington Square near R&D Kitchen. Washington Square is a collection of small shops and tourism related businesses within walking distance of a number of hotels, restaurants and other tasting rooms. Yountville is small enough that if you are up for a walk you can make this tasting room and this part of town a destination for the morning or afternoon. You can access Washington Square from two entrances – the main street that runs through Yountville and also the driveway immediately after you take the turnoff into north Yountville from Highway 29. You can see the front of the tasting room directly from Highway 29 in either direction.
We have tasted Beau Vigne’s wines a number of times at various tastings around the Napa Valley and beyond and were pleasantly surprised to discover that they opened this tasting room in early July 2010. No appointment is needed. Both bar and table seating are available.
Beau Vigne was started by Ed and Trish Snider with their first vintage dating from 2002. The vineyard source for creating the wine comes from a 9 acre vineyard at about 1350 feet on the slopes of Atlas Peak. Eight acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and one 1 acre is planted to Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Ed is a native of the Napa Valley and used to coach football at St. Helena High. St. Helena is in the heart of the Napa Valley and children of vintners attend this school. As expected a number of his former students are now in the local and extended wine industry.
Well-regarded local winemaker Dave Phinney has made their wine since the first vintage. Dave is much in demand as a winemaker – he made his mark with his own very successful winery, Orin Swift and before that worked at Robert Mondavi and Opus One.
Fine vineyards, a fine winemaker and a fine name – Beau Vigne translated from French means “Fine Wine”. All their productions are quite limited – discounts are given on certain wines when you purchase them directly from the tasting room.
The one white wine Beau Vigne makes is a Chardonnay. The 2008 “Persuasion” is their only non Napa wine (sourced from the Russian River region of neighboring Sonoma County) and was aged entirely in new French Oak (about 25% new) – the lively very aromatic bouquet hints at the complexity of flavor to be found on the palate including tropical flavors – passion fruit, pineapple as well as melon. This wine has good weight; it is creamy without being too buttery.
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon shows a bouquet that hints of pepper, its slightly earthy with aromas of wet rock. The front and mid palate are both elegant in nature and the entry is rather soft. However the finish has power and flavor that lingers for quite some time.
Their 2008 Juliet Cabernet Sauvignon has a very appealing flavor profile; it is their most produced wine. One of the most intriguing components of this wine is how balanced it is for being so young. The nose is elegant showing a lot of fruit aromas (more black fruit than red fruit). Black Cherry and black currant are core to the flavor profile – the tannins are dusty and last for some time.
The 2007 Reserve Cabernet has a bouquet that is slightly more restrained than the other 2 wines; the nose is rather elegant. Notes of black fig and red cherry show on the richly flavored palate – this is certainly drinkable now but should continue to evolve nicely for a number of years. It is a wine that is built to age. Again, this wine has Dave Phinney’s signature trademark…balance.
For a powerful rich wine with well built tannins, try the “Cult”. Usually only several hundred cases of this are made annually.
NOTE1: this review has been identified as needing a major update.
NOTE2: We have heard that Beau Vigne purchased the old Van Der Heyden Vineyards property at 4057 Silverado Trail and will be building a winery. We will keep an eye on this property, revisit once the winery is completed and further update this review at that time. It may be several years before the winery is completed (update as of 2017).
For more information visit: www.beauvigne.com