Known to be one of the oldest operating wineries in the Napa Valley, Beringer Vineyards was founded in 1875 by brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer. Set in the valley’s St. Helena American Viticultural Area, the entire estate was designated a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Winemakers Ed Sbragia and Laurie Hook are currently at the helm, overseeing all of the winemaking decisions. Sourced from 14 vineyards, the main grape varieties used for Beringer production include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Today, the Private Reserve Cabernet and Chardonnay continue to be two of the highest-rated wines in our Beringer Ratings.
The warm vintage rewarded this dessert wine, yielding incredibly ripe fruit. Barrel-fermented, this blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc was picked at 35% of sugar, and has a residual sweetness of 12.1 grams. The wine is tremendous in apricot jam, pineapple tart, vanilla custard and crème brûlée flavors, with gorgeously balancing, clean acids and a rich, honeyed finish.
A dazzling wine. Bursts with black-currant, plum, blackberry, tobacco, and olivaceous notes, and fine, toasty oak. Superb concentration; the fruit is simply fabulous, and so are the luscious, warm, silky tannins. Epitomizes class and elegance.
This wine is still young and precocious, but don’t judge it too quickly. Let it air in your glass, and watch how it changes. One minute it’s all cherries and smoke; the next it heaves up a great draught of currants, cocoa and cedar. It’s a big wine but deceptive; the tannins are airy and lilting, there’s charm and underneath, enormous complexity. It’s best left…
Ed Sbragia has been crafting the wines at Beringer for a long time, and this is his signature Chardonnay. A complex, perfumed nose of apples, earth, hazelnuts and spices makes you linger before drinking. Full-bodied yet elegant and impeccably balanced, the wine coats the palate with apple, spice and toasty oak flavors. The finish is beautiful. I’d want my name on…
Made since the 1970s, and always at the top rung of California dessert wines. The cool vintage actually aided the wine, since it prodded the development of botrytis. Elaborate and unctuous, the apricot and peach flavors are very sweet, but crisp acidity provides balance. The texture is pure velvet, right through the long, sweet finish.
At nearly six years of age, this sweetie has picked up an old gold color, and has developed true bottle bouquet: ripe apricot nectar, pear liqueur, caramel, coffee and honey, gingersnap, vanilla custard, among other aromas and flavors. Enormously sweet, and the alcohol is only 8 percent. High acidity creates a whistle-clean finish.
Gigantic, huge. Just erupts with the most intense cassis, chocolate and smoky new oak. Classic Howell Mountain structure, with dense, sweet young tannins and firm acidity. So immature, it’s sappy and jammy now, and is sorely in need of cellaring. Don’t touch before 2011, and should provide enjoyment for many years after.
Very strongly flavored, very big and powerful in both oak and fruit. Beringer aims for the fences with this massive Chard, which erupts with tropical fruit, ripe pear, baked pastry crust, buttered toast, mineral and cinnamon spice flavors. Not for the faint-hearted, but it’s sheer decadence.