Wine Advocate | Robert Parker | June 30, 2011
"The 2009 Chardonnay Private Reserve, which comes primarily from Napa’s Gamble Ranch site, is a bigger, richer, more nutty-styled Chardonnay revealing tropical fruit, butter, brioche and hazelnut characteristics. They backed off the oak in this cuvee, which results in more fruit, interest and personality."
Beringer’s Private Reserve Chardonnay showcases the best of Napa Valley terroir and the vintage. Often a single-vineyard Chardonnay, this wine highlights the richness and complexity of this varietal and has been a benchmark Chardonnay since its first vintage in 1978.
Vintage and Vineyards
The 2009 growing season was marked by a mild season overall. Light spring rains gave way to a serene, warm summer. Overall yields were on the smaller side, making for intense varietal characteristics and flavor development immediately evident at harvest. Beringer’s northernmost Chardonnay vineyard and the primary source of the 2009 Private Reserve Chardonnay, Gamble Ranch, is located near the town of Yountville where daytime temperatures slowly climb as the cooling morning fog recedes south to San Pablo Bay. This significant diurnal shift allows the grapes to maintain their acidity, which is essential to balancing the ripe, rich flavors they develop during warm afternoons. Grapes for the 2009 Private Reserve Chardonnay were harvested between September 4th and September 30th.
Each Chardonnay lot was kept separate throughout the aging process. After sending the fruit directly to press, winemaker Laurie Hook fermented the juice in French oak barrels (76% new) to enhance the natural richness in the wine. Weekly lees stirring enhanced the toasty notes, and integrated the oak flavors for an overall balance. All of the wines were put through malolactic fermentation to encourage a lush creaminess. After 9 months aging, Laurie chose the most expressive lots and blended them to create a richly layered wine with aromas of crème brulee and rich citrus and fruit flavors.
Laurie's Tasting Notes
Aromas of butterscotch, lemon curd, and toasted almonds evolve into rich tropical flavors. The rich, luscious mouthfeel is elegantly balanced by bright citrus notes.