The Quarry Cabernet showcases Rutherford Cabernet qualities, with its signature dusty and earthy characteristics. Mouthwatering juicy red plum and raspberry aromas and flavors are layered with hints of toasty oak, dried herbs, cola and sarsaparilla, all of which are nicely framed by round tannins. - Winemaster, Ed Sbragia
Medium ruby. Black cherry, ripe raspberry, menthol, minerals and flowers on the nose. Tight and rather lean on entry, then juicy and cool in the middle palate, with less sweetness and more of an herbal character than the St. Helena Home Vineyard bottling. I find these tannins slightly tough.
The Vineyards The 'Rancho del Oso Roja' vineyard, located on Howell Mountain at approximately 1800 feet elevation and named for the red bears that swim in the nearby pond, has red, volcanic soils that are friable and loose, with excellent drainage. Plush yet graceful, it exhibits the earthiness of a mountain wine while retaining a notable elegance.
Vintage The 2006 growing season began with a slightly delayed budbreak after quite a bit of Winter and Spring rain. Summer was moderately warm, with the exception of a heat wave in July that helped speed the growth of the vines. Mild weather continued through much of harvest, allowing for consistent and deliberate ripening of the grapes.
Winemaking With Cabernet of this quality, Ed and Laurie believe in taking a minimalist approach to winemaking. Vinifying the fruit from each vineyard separately, the winemaking team used tailored pump-over techniques for optimal extraction, and then aged the wines for approximately two years in hand-selected, custom-toasted barrels of new French Nevers oak from coopers with whom they have long-established relationships.
The 2007 Bancroft Ranch Merlot is a rich garnet color, and brims with flavors of ripe black fruits, brown spices and a hint of orange zest. Its refined tannins and depth of flavor make it one of our most memorable wines from Howell Mountain.
Beringer's Bancroft Ranch Merlot, and the relationship we have with the Bancroft family, has always been deeply special to Beringer and Winemaker Laurie Hook. The first vintage of this wine was 1987, and it immediately demonstrated how fantastic Merlot can be when planted in the right place.
VINTAGE & VINEYARDS Beringer's Bancroft Ranch vineyard is located at an elevation of 1,800 feet on Howell Mountain, a growing area with well-drained volcanic soils. In 1984,Howell Mountain became the first area within the Napa Valley appellation to be declared a separate viticultural area (AVA) for the distinct characteristics of its wine grapes and now it is home to several of Napa Valley's most famous wines. Bancroft Ranch produces clusters with small berries whose high skin-to-fruit ratio results in well-structured wines with concentrated flavors. The flavors are further enhanced by the climate: the vineyard is about 5 to 10 degrees cooler than the valley floor but experiences more hours of sunshine over the course of a day because it is above the fog belt. This allows for both extended hang time and slow, even flavor development.
WINEMAKING The lots were kept separate through fermentation and aging to retain the individual terroir characteristics of each part of the vineyard. After gentle crushing and destemming, the juice and skins were sent to small fermenters where color, flavors and tannins were slowly extracted from the skins asvinification progressed. The wine was then aged in 100% new custom-toasted French Nevers oak barrels for 22 months. The extended time in barrel allows the big, Cabernet-like tannins in the Howell Mountain Merlot enough time to soften, and the aromas from the barrels become well integrated with the ripe fruit characteristics of the wine. Small percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were added upon blending, to elongate the finish and add additional complexities to the blend.
The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is evocative of the rich terroir of Napa Valley, yet a wine that I find to be immediately approachable and appealing. Forward berry aromas are complemented by toasty oak and spice components. On the palate, flavors of baked berries are highlighted by a round, fleshy mouthfeel and a slightly savory note in the finish.
Winemaking With Cabernet of this quality, Lauries believe in taking a minimalist approach to winemaking. Vinifying the fruit from each vineyard separately, Laurie used tailored pump-over techniques for optimal extraction, and then aged the wines for approximately two years in hand-selected, custom-toasted barrels of new French Nevers oak from coopers with whom she has long-established relationships.
Vineyards Chabot Vineyard lies east of the Silverado Trail, just north of the road that leads up Howell Mountain to Bancroft Ranch and Steinhauer Ranch. The chunks of shiny obsidian heavily strewn through its soil reflect the locale, known as “Glass Mountain.” An underlying layer of pumice and bedrock ensures excellent drainage. The inky, highly structured, deeply flavored Cabernet from this vineyard was the first that Beringer Vineyards elected to bottle as a Private Reserve, in 1977, and we have continued to bottle a small amount each year since as a single-vineyard Cabernet.