Beringer Private Reserve represents the pinnacle of the portfolio. Former Chief Winemakers Myron Nightingale and Ed Sbragia created the Private Reserve program in 1977 with the goal of crafting Napa's finest Cabernet Sauvignon. The Private Reserve Chardonnay was introduced with the 1978 vintage, and together these wines have earned three decades of extraordinary accolades, including two "Wine of the Year" awards.
“Aromas of sliced red apple with heather, lilac, and dried pineapple, as well as peach skin. Full-bodied with a rich, layered palate and lots of dried fruit. Its flavorful and delicious now. Hints of pralines, light toffee and cream. Drink or hold.” - James Suckling, January 2022
Layered, rich, creamy, and complex, this luscious Chardonnay is classically Californian with expressive aromas of citrus blossom, jasmine, and lemon curd, supported by more tropical ripe flavors of white nectarine, peach, and grilled pineapple. The well-integrated oak shows notes of brioche, vanilla, and ginger spice, leading to a long, mouth-watering finish with freshness and minerality.
The 2020 season will be remembered for factors beyond the typical harvest season. It was a warm, dry winter and the rain and cooler weather didn’t arrive until the end of March. While the mild spring season was a great early start, our winery working conditions had extensive safety protocols due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Summer brought very cool mornings and very warm days, but then harvest was interrupted by wildfires across California, which came as grapes started to be picked, and we were very fortunate that none of our vineyards were in the areas of the active fires. The white wine harvest started in early August, the wines are showing excellent development in cellars, reflecting the fine vintage year. While the red wine harvest will be smaller yielding and proved to be one of the most challenging in history, but our winemakers remained optimistic and very complimentary of the high quality achieved from this unprecedented vintage. Grapes for 2020 Private Reserve Chardonnay were picked between September 15th and September 24th. Overall, the season was marked by exceptional fruit development with phenolic ripeness, producing a wonderful wine vintage.
Gamble Ranch is Beringer’s northernmost Chardonnay vineyard, the source for Private Reserve, 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 as they develop during warm afternoons. Older vines featuring the Wente Clone 4 are dominant in this wine.
Each Chardonnay lot is kept separate throughout the aging process for this flagship wine. After sending the fruit directly to press, the juice is fermented in 100% French oak barrels for nine 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, then put through malolactic fermentation to encourage a lush creaminess. After aging, the most expressive lots are chosen and blended to create a richly layered wine with aromas of crème brûlée and rich citrus and fruit flavors.
In 2016, Ryan returned to Napa Valley to join Beringer Vineyards as Luxury Red Winemaker and crafted wines from the Knight’s Valley estate. He was appointed Sr. Winemaker and General Manager in 2017 and elevated to Chief Winemaker in 2021. Ryan is honored to bring recognition to the wines produced at one of Napa Valley’s best known and most beloved wineries, following in the footsteps of a roster of acclaimed chief winemakers such as Ed Sbragia, Myron Nightingale, Laurie Hook, and Mark Beringer.
|Oak Treatment||9 months in (75% new) French Oak|