96 Points - James Suckling
“Freshly squeezed nectarines, dried jasmine, orange blossom, vanilla, peach flan, dried mangoes, jack fruit and plenty of bread dough. Full body, a very round and oily mouthfeel, expansive and commanding acidity and a long finish. Drink now or hold.” - James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2019
The 2017 Chardonnay is fresh, vibrant, and well-balanced with medium weight trending to richness. There are classic California Chardonnay notes of lemon confit, crème brûlée, with aromas and flavors of tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango and tangerine. A light touch of oak leads to a pleasing, lingering finish.
Gamble Ranch, the source for Private Reserve, is Beringer's northernmost Chardonnay vineyard. The vineyard, located near the town of Yountville, in the Oakville AVA, sees 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 as they develop during warm afternoons.
The 2017 vintage provided high quality thanks to lower than average yields. The year began with abundant rainfall. Spring weather was mild, resulting in extended flowering in some areas with little shatter. Vines were vigorous thanks to the winter rains. A freak hail storm passed through quickly in June causing isolated damage. Three heat events, including one over Labor Day weekend, kicked harvest into high gear. Cool weather arrived immediately afterward, allowing sugar levels to return to normal. Most late-ripening red grapes continued to hang on the vine and were picked throughout October.
Each Chardonnay lot is kept separate throughout the aging process for this flagship wine. Aftersending the fruit directly to press, the juice is fermented in 100 % French oak barrels for 10 months to enhance the natural richness in the wine. Weekly lees stirring enhanced the toasty notes and integrated the oak flavors for an overall balance. The wine is barrel fermented, and all the wine was put through malolactic fermentation to encourage a lush creaminess. After ten months aging, the most expressive lots are chosen and blended to create a richly layered wine