The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve is built from completely different sources. Sixty-six percent came from the St. Helena Home Ranch, 18% from the Chabot Vineyard, and the rest from Beringer’s estates in St. Helena, Rutherford and Coombsville. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that came in at 14.6% natural alcohol with a pH of 3.8.
Perhaps the greatest Beringer Private Reserve since the 2007, 2005, 2002 and 2001, the 2010 offers up notes of lead pencil shavings, creme de cassis, subtle smoke, wet rocks and background oak. Full-bodied, rich and impressive, it can be drunk now or cellared for two decades.
Despite the enormity of this enterprise (multiple wineries and a global network), the flagship estate in northern California, Beringer Vineyards, continues to be in very capable winemaking hands, and the quality of the wines remains exceptionally impressive, particularly when you look at some of the huge production numbers of their lower priced offerings.
The red wines currently in the market are from the challenging 2011 vintage. As for the Private Reserve Cabernets, production can vary significantly depending on the vintage, from around 8,000 cases to nearly twice that in an abundant year. As for the single vineyard wines, I will keep my notes short as these are only available to members of the Beringer Wine Club.
I was surprised by how strongly all these 2011s performed, but three of the single vineyards are on Howell Mountain.These are all excellent wines, but it seems to me that the Private Reserve, a blend of the best lots from these sources, always turns out to be Beringer’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2020 - 2030
Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (October 2013)
Deep crimson. Very complete and luscious on the nose. I'd be very happy to drink this as a nightcap – great balance if you don't mind the warm finish – but I think it could be a bit of a knockout blow at the dinner table. Certainly very well made. Very typical Napa Valley Cab well done.
Drink now until 2023
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (October 2014)
About this WINE
Based in St. Helena, the company derives its fruit primarily from Napa, but also from Knights Valley and Carneros, while Yountville in the south of the Valley is the primary source of its Chardonnay grapes. The company's best Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots come from fruit grown in the Bancroft Range 200ft above sea level on Howell Mountain.
Like many Californian wineries Beringer operate at various levels, producing very reasonable wines for the mass market, very fine varietal wines aimed at the discerning consumer and then at the very top end a selection of Private Reserve wines fit to rank alongside the best found anywhere in the world. We have always been astonished at how consistent their quality can be across such a wide spectrum of levels.
The premium Chardonnays being powerful, yet balanced and focused, and amongst California's best. The premium reds combine power with finesse and have superb cellaring potential.
North Coast's Napa Valley is California's most famous viticultural area (AVA), claiming some of the most expensive agricultural land in the world and producing wines of cult status.
Its 16,000 ha of vines lie over a strip (40 miles long-5 miles wide) of diverse soils (clay, gravely, volcanic), with its northernmost end on the side of Mountain Helena and its foot in San Francisco Bay. The valley is framed by two mountains ranges Vaca (to the north) and Mayacamas (to the south), yet the main climatic influence is the cool wind and fog that is sucked in from San Pablo Bay during the afternoon, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and evenly.
The area enjoys a variety of unique microclimates, as temperatures can vary dramatically as much as 15 degrees, from the north to the south end of the valley. These differences have led to the creation of several sub-AVAs (14 in total) including:
Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley District, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mt. Veeder, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Stags Leap District, Yountville, Wild Horse Valley and Oak Knoll District. The Calistoga AVA is still pending approval.
Both the Napa Valley designation and the sub-AVA name must appear on the wine label simultaneously, with the exception of wines from the Carneros AVA, which is shared between the Napa Valley and the Sonoma County.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the undisputed king of Napa grapes, occupying over 45% of the vineyard acreage, followed by (predominantly) Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cab. Franc and to a lesser extent Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto.
Frog's Leap, Dominus, David Ramey, Viader, Stag's Leap Cellars, Paras Vineyards, Heitz.
The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.
It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.
The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.