VINTAGE & VINEYARDS
The 2011 vintage began with a wet winter and cool spring that delayed bloom and reduced fruit set, resulting in lower yields in many parts of the North Coast region. Cool temperatures delayed ripening by several weeks, a timetable that continued through the cooler-than-usual summer season. Few high heat events occurred at any point in 2011, and growers managed more open vine canopies to ensure sunlight, warmth and good air circulation around the grape clusters.
Beringer's northernmost Chardonnay vineyard and the primary source of the 2011 Private Reserve Chardonnay, Gamble Ranch is located near the town of Yountville, in the Oakville AVA, 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 2011 Private Reserve Chardonnay were harvested between September 22nd and October 1st.
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 (88 percent 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 wine was 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 hazelnut and grilled pineapple are followed by flavors of lush, tropical fruits, balanced by a hint of citrus. A rich, creamy mouthfeel is rounded out by a lengthy, elegant finish.