Beaucanon Estate is a private winery which has been producing Bordeaux styled wines in Napa since 1986. They were originally located in the winery building that currently houses Provenance Winery on Highway 29. Beaucanon is run by a brother sister team whose family have a long history of winemaking in France dating (9 generations) back to the mid 1740’s – the brother Louis de Coninck is the winemaker. Everything about this winery is true to their Bordeaux roots, including the vineyard management and winemaking. Rows are small and tightly spaced and terroir specific clones are used based on soil types. 94 acres of vines are organically farmed on site.
All their wines are estate grown – both red Bordeaux varietals as well as smaller amounts of Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. Their winery and grapes are located on the Longwood ranch – a part of Napa that has rich history dating many years. Captain Salvador Vallejo, the brother of Mariano Vallejo (founder of Sonoma) used to own this property. An old Adobe building stood on site until it was burned down in 1970. A number of crops grew here over the years including prunes – it wasn’t until the late 1970’s that grapes were first grown on site.
They have three good size vineyards in the Napa area of which they carefully choose the fruit they want and sell the rest to other wineries. Soil analysts from France surveyed their vineyards and made recommendations for where to plant certain varietals including specific rootstocks which would perform well. They use a variety of rootstalk for their Cabernet Sauvignon including a French Clone (337) which typically produces very small fruit with intense concentrated flavors.
The philosophy of the owners regarding wine pricing comes from Europe; a good wine should be enjoyed on a daily basis with food and be available at a reasonable price. This has carried through to all of their pricing. Even their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon’s are priced where many of the local high end wineries start their pricing. Their reserve wines are made in low quantities and are only produced during certain cool weather years as quality is of the utmost importance.
We tried several delicious wines including their 2006 Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has a very floral nose with hints of mint and other herbs. It is a crisp wine with flavors of honeysuckle and melons. Their Merlot is not your typical California Merlot, i.e. it does not have any jammy characteristics. It is a well structured deep red Bordeaux blended wine with a fantastic and complex nose. Pleasant flavors of red cherry, blackberry and hints of oak follow through on the palate.
Their Reserve Cabernet is a gem of a wine. As of the time of this review we tried their current vintage, a 2000 which was already 7 years old by the time it reached our palate. This wine can easily age another 10 years but was already drinking nicely. It has velvety tannins and traces of cherries on the nose as well as a touch of mocha and vanilla from the 2 years in French Oak.
Of interest, golf Pro Johnny Miller used to own the property where the winery is located today. Beaucanon now takes appointments for tastings and reservations can be made through their website.
For more information visit: www.beaucanonestate.com
Note: This review has been identified as needing a major update.