2017 was our first vintage, made back when I worked for Decanter Magazine and financed on a shoestring. It has taken a while to unwind, but at least to drink today it might be my favorite of the three we’ve bottled to date: this was quite a classic growing season and the wine is very nicely balanced, with classic aromas of crisp orchard fruit, white flowers and beeswax. In the last few months, a sort of oyster shell, gently reductive quality has emerged; something I caught glimpses of from barrel, and which I really appreciate. Whereas the 2018 and 2019 were bottled under DIAM, which is neutral and very consistent, the 2017 was bottled under stupidly expensive certified TCA-free corks from Amorim, which consumed much of the modest profit margin (to Frank’s chagrin), and I think these corks contribute a touch of oak lactones that didn’t come from the barrels.
- W.K., January 2021
Chenin Blancs from the US have improved over the past few years, but few producers have attained such a level of complexity as Beau Rivage. Barrel-fermented on its lees in a mixture of neutral barriques and demi-muids gives aromas of candlewax, honeydew melon and chamomile. The palate perfectly marries the characteristic richness of serious Chenin, with a taught, lifted acid structure. A new benchmark for California. Drink 2021-2031.
"A View from the Cellar"
William very kindly sent me a bottle of the 2017 Beau Rivage along with the new release of the 2018, so that I could see how it was evolving a year out from the last time I tasted the wine. The wine is really starting to drink nicely with an extra year’s worth of bottle age, offering up a complex bouquet of apple, quince, lanolin, chalky soil, dried flowers and a topnote of beeswax. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and really starting to blossom, with a superb core of fruit, excellent soil signature, bright acids and a long, complex and zesty finish. Though this is only 12.1 percent octane, and quite similar to the 2018, it is a bigger-boned wine that delivers the same sense of breed and complexity with a bit more stuffing. Fine juice. Drink 2020-2035.