VINTAGE & VINEYARDS
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January, we enjoyed significant rainfall in February along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015 and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended season helped to balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors. Warm temperatures arrived as harvest began, but ultimately, everything came together in the best possible way.
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 the warm afternoons.
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 French oak barrels (40 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. The wine is barrel fermented, and all the wine was put through malolactic fermentation to encourage a lush creaminess. After eight months aging, the most expressive lots are chosen and blended to create a richly layered wine with aromas of crème brulée and rich citrus and fruit flavors.
The Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay opens with classic notes of stone fruit, citrus and tropical pineapple, with a luscious peaches and cream character with notes of toasted almonds and nutmeg. Rich and full, well balanced with generous acidity, the wine lingers with a memorable, lasting finish.
–Lisa Perotti-Brown, WINE ADVOCATE, October 2017