March 15th, 2012

For all the wineries that I’ve written to you about, I’m kind of shocked that the Beaulieu Vineyards are the first I’ve found of their kind. Normally, each month I learn about another American family that moved to the Napa Valley and began, in some way or another, to try and duplicate French winemaking techniques. Some pay homage to their European predecessors, while others assert the superiority of modern techniques, but they’re all students of another culture. Never before, though, have I come across a real Frenchman. That is, until now, with the story of Georges de Latour.

De Latour came from France in 1900, needing not to study or learn, but only to continue his practice on this land that he found beautiful. And, later, when he wanted a winemaker, he could only have “someone who understood European standards”, so he brought a research enologist from Paris over to join him. At the Beaulieu Vineyards they assert that this move benefitted the “entire nascent California wine industry”. Which maybe it did, but don’t you just love this French attitude? This winery is dripping with a languid superiority that wants everyone who’s reading this story in English to understand how lucky we are that someone showed up who knew how to make a bottle of wine.

Of course, in France, where everyone knows how to make wine from birth, everyone does, so you can get a pretty nice bottle for 2 euros. I wish these boys would try to hold up that part of French culture here in California. But, who cares. All the wine you want is free at our bar every night from 5-7!

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