Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Component Tasting with Virtual Host Winemaker Mark Beringer

Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 07:30 PM

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A meal without wine is called breakfast.

I don’t eat breakfast…

 

 

Beringer winery is one of the original four of the Napa Valley and although the ownership has changed hands several times over the last century it remains one of the most storied of all the great houses of Napa.  Tonight we have the next generation of the Beringer family Mark Beringer on hand and although the family no longer owns the vineyards and winery that bears their name it is ironic that Mark has come full circle and is now making the wines at this historic winery that bears his namesake.

Join us as we welcome Mark via zoom to South Florida for a tasting the new releases from this historic winery, along with a component tasting of the wines that make up the Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  Toni Lampasone will be making a special meal to accompany the tasting wines.  There are only 14 spaces available, the fee for this event is $195 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

 

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Beringer Winery Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Component Tasting
with Special Virtual Guest Winemaker Mark Beringer
Thursday, October 8th
7:30pm

 

2016 Beringer Luminus Chardonnay Oak Knoll

2018 Beringer Chardonnay Luminus Oak Knoll
Price: $25.50       Sale $22.44

Meaning “light” in Latin, Luminus naturally represents the radiance of this Chardonnay. Like the brightness and purity that the name conjures, Chardonnay from the Oak Knoll district is known for its uncommon focus. The Chardonnay fruit from the Big Ranch Vineyard is known for its elegance and balance and Chief Winemaker Mark Beringer has always gravitated towards this acid-driven, food-friendly style of Chardonnay.

BER-2017-PR-Chard-750

2017 Beringer Chardonnay Private Reserve Napa
Price: $37.50       Sale $33.00

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.

BER-2017-KV-CabSauv

2017 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley
Price: $24.50       Sale $21.56

Beringer Vineyards has owned and farmed its Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-1960’s, when the Beringer family recognized that the cobbled alluvial soils were a great place to grow high quality wine grapes. The Knights Valley designation was first used on a Beringer label in 1974. Beringer was instrumental in garnering official recognition for the area in 1983 as a premier wine growing region in the form of its own American Viticulture Area (AVA) designation.

2015 Beringer Quantum Red Blend

2015 Beringer Quantum Napa
Price: $37.50       Sale $33.00

Quantum is the smallest unit of energy achievable in science. Each tiny particle – each singular quantum – holds unique potential to contribute to a larger being. When these units combine, each quantum contributes its specific essence, resulting in a system of great expression and complexity. Similarly in wine, Beringer recognizes that each grape varietal offers unique flavor and structure, and that each vineyard and block of vines contributes yet another expression of those varietals. In other words, each of these components acts as a quantum. When these varietals, or quanta combine, they produce something of far greater value.

Beringer distinction series napa valley cabernet sauvignon bottle shot

 

2014 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
Price: $58.50       Sale $51.48

Beringer’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted to reflect the outstanding strength of the Napa Valley appellation, but with stylistic differences from the Private Reserve – differences that highlight the range of terroir found in our Napa Valley vineyards. Possessing great structure and concentration, this wine is still immediately approachable and appealing but incredibly cellar worthy.

Components for the 2015 vintage pf Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet

Home Vineyard - The St. Helena Home Vineyard is largely responsible for the establishment of Beringer Vineyards because this site, situated around the present-day winery, first attracted founder Jacob Beringer to the property in 1875.  The vineyard is formed of a sloped alluvial fan of rock and gravelly soils with little capacity to hold water.  Planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon, its fruit has been a key component of the Private Reserve Cabernet since 1982.

Chabot Vineyard - Chabot Vineyard lies east of the Silverado Trail, just north of the road that leads up Howell Mountain to Bancroft Ranch and Steinhauer Ranch.  The chunks of shiny obsidian heavily strewn through its soil reflect the locale, known as “Glass Mountain.”  An underlying layer of pumice and bedrock ensures excellent drainage.  The inky, highly structured, deeply flavored Cabernet from this vineyard was the first that Beringer Vineyards elected to bottle as a Private Reserve, in 1977, and we have continued to bottle a small amount each year since as a single-vineyard Cabernet. Chabot Cabernet has finely knit tannins, and layers of black currant with hints of mint and cedar.

Marston Vineyard - Marston Vineyard perches on the slopes of Spring Mountain to the west of St. Helena, just a few miles uphill from the site of the Beringer brothers’ original St. Helena Home vineyard.  The restrictive soil, mostly stony loam, produces grapes with highly developed fruit flavors. Within the vineyard, the terrain rises to approximately 1200 feet, varying between steep, terraced slopes to gently rolling land.

Steinhauer Ranch - Originally known as Tre Colline for its memorable undulating terrain, the 36-acre benchland vineyard was renamed in 2003 to honor Beringer’s long-time vineyard manager, Bob Steinhauer, who helped establish the reserve level vineyards across Napa Valley. At 1,800 feet elevation, southwest facing on Howell Mountain, just northeast of Angwin, Steinhauer Ranch features volcanic iron-rich soils notable for their rich red color, with a friable, loose texture. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc thrive in the sparse, infertile soil where cool mountain temperatures with high solar radiation above the fog line allow grapes to languish on the vine, developing bold tannins and distinctive notes.

Bancroft Ranch - Our Bancroft ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the select single vineyard wines blended into our Private Reserve. Bancroft Ranch sits on top of Howell Mountain at an elevation of 1770 feet with rolling hills, well drained white volcanic ash soils, and a rock underlay. The fruit that comes from this mountain top vineyard is concentrated, with currant flavors and think skins yielding structured tannins.

2015 Beringer PR Cabernet

2015 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Napa
Price: $177.00    Sale $155.76      

The brothers Frederick and Jacob Beringer established Beringer in 1876 in the belief that Napa could be a premier wine-growing region like Germany’s Rhine River Valley, from which they hailed. The brothers quickly made Beringer famous for producing world-class wines, a legacy that continues to this day and reaches its finest expression in our Private Reserve series.

To make these small-production wines, fifth-generation winemaker Mark Beringer chooses the best lots from our reserve vineyards in the Napa Valley, each demonstrating a different aspect of Napa’s prized terroir. Beringer’s Private Reserve wines have become famous as one of the truest expressions of a given vintage.

Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical Pack 2013, 2014, 2015
Price: $1080        Sale 950.40

Two bottles of each vintage In this 6pk wooden case gives you a vertical selection of this great wines to add to you cellar.

 

Menu

Cheese and Charcuterie

Bibb Lettuce Salad with citrus Segments, Shaved Fennel and poppyseed dressing

Sesame Seared Tuna served on Soba Noodle Salad with Ponzu Beurre Blanc

Bacon Fat Seared Waygu Filet with Bone Marrow Compound Butter and Sharp Cheddar Au Gratin

Dark Chocolate Custard with Blackberry Preserves

There are only 14 spaces available, the fee for this event is $195 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.  Please let us know when you make your reservations if you have any dietary restrictions and chef Toni will be happy to accommodate you.

 

A bit about Mark Beringer:

Mark Beringer, great-great-grandson of Beringer Vineyards' founding brother Jacob Beringer, was immersed in wine from the moment he was born in the heart of the Napa Valley. As the direct descendant to Beringer's first winemaker and one of the most iconic family names in Napa Valley wine history, he knew from a young age that he would follow in the footsteps of his ancestors. As a young man he spent many hours working in his family's wine store in St. Helena, expanding his knowledge of wine as well as gaining an appreciation for wines outside of the famous region he has always called home.
After a stint in high school working as a stock clerk at the historical family property at Beringer, Mark graduated from California State University in Fresno with an Enology degree in 1990. Eager to immerse himself in winemaking, he spent a year in the cellars at Benziger in Sonoma and then joined Duckhorn in 1992. Mark began as Enologist and worked his way up to Vice President of Winemaking at Duckhorn. In 2009 Mark joined Artesa as Vice President and Winemaker.
In 2015, Mark Beringer came 'home' to Beringer Vineyards, joining as Chief Winemaker and following in the footsteps of acclaimed Winemaker Emeritus Laurie Hook. 'I'm absolutely thrilled to be making wines for the very winery that my ancestor built, and be part of the next chapter in this important story of Beringer and of the Napa Valley." notes Mark.

 

A brief history of Beringer Winery:

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It the dawn of the 1980's the big story around the Napa Valley was the resuscitation of the great name of the near-dead Beringer Vineyards.  That success saga continues today and is being enlarged upon in ways that even the winery's original founders could not have imagined.  After Repeal, the big four - Beaulieu, Inglenook, Krug, and Martini - made the wines that the local Cabernet cognoscenti stashed in their cellars.  Although little has been written about Beringer during that same period, noted Napa Valley wine scribe, Bob Thompson, reports that the winery did indeed produce some outstanding wines in the late 30's and the 1940's.  One such wine - a 1937 Cabernet - was uncorked for the staff of The Wine News in 1988.  At 51, it was a revelation; we still consider it the greatest oldtimer from California that we have ever been privileged to taste.  In the 1950's Beringer lost its way; and by 1971 when the Nestlé Chocolate firm purchased the winery, Beringer was so far gone that most observers were predicting its demise.  Wine World, a subsidiary of Nestlé, was charged with the task of bringing the winery back to life.  The talented Wine World team knew that there was hope.  Although Beringer's reputation and physical plant was in shambles, the potential of its 800 acres of vineyards was an undeniable fact.  Although the corporate takeover of a winery that had been in family hands for a century was initially viewed with suspicion, Wine World soon put fears to rest. They axed all the jug wines and generic brands and began ambitious vineyard acquisitions (Beringer Wine Estates now owns or controls over 9000 acres).  Nestlé poured untold millions into an earnest rebuilding of the once-revered Beringer name.  Myron Nightingale, one of California's winemaking legends, was to be the architect of the reconstruction.

Nightingale moved quickly to get Beringer back into the fray with a line of good medium-priced varietals, but the battle for consumer acceptance was a long and hard road. The wine press in those days was small, and word did not get around quite so fast.  Undaunted and irrevocably committed to long range success, Wine World continued to make all the right moves.  One of them was Ed Sbragia.  Ed is a big Teddy Bear of a man who cuts an imposing figure - a gentleman whose talent is a match for his size.  The young Sbragia came to work for Beringer in 1976 to apprentice under Nightingale.  He wanted to make wine with the best - it was in his blood.  His grandfather and his father made Zinfandel from grapes grown on the old homestead near Healdsburg.  Ed’s training with Nightingale and his performance through three decades at Beringer has made him one of the most respected winemakers in the Napa Valley.  He has been with Beringer for almost three decades, and he has been in full charge since Nightingale retired in 1984.  In 1994 we asked Ed why a young winemaker would choose to go to work for what was then a truly moribund winery.  "Because I wanted to work under Myron", he replied.  Sbragia knew there was much to learn and that it was a golden opportunity to work side by side with one of the great masters.  Although Nightingale was in the twilight of his career, he was still experimenting and still breaking new ground.

Together, Nightingale & Sbragia put Beringer on the map with Cabernet.  The break-through came with the 1978 Private Reserve-Lemmon Ranch Cabernet - that vintage allowed Beringer to turn the corner and shoot to the forefront of Napa producers.  Beginning in 1981, Nightingale and Sbragia began to blend from several of their best ranches to make the Private Reserve, and the folks at Wine World will tell you that this has been the secret to Beringer's consistency over the past decade.  The winemaker's blending skills are of prime importance at Beringer, and Sbragia has an unblemished record.  He has crafted an unbroken string of outstanding Cabernets that have been absolutely superb in years such as 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1996.  Beringer's Private Reserve Cabernets have been among the very few California Cabernets worthy of a collector's cellar in vintages such as 1983 (the best in the Valley that year), 1988, 1989, and 1993.  This 1996 Private Reserve Cabernet is another classic from a very good to excellent vintage, another example of how Beringer continues to shine unfaltering.

Beringer entered the Merlot arena in a grand way in the 1987 vintage - from the outset the rugged, massively-structured, Cabernet-like Merlots from the Bancroft Ranch on Howell Mountain have made Beringer a powerhouse in the Merlot business.  Because Beringer's Merlot speaks more of its appellation than its varietal make-up, it will not please the masses.  This is a Merlot with the stuffing to outlast many Cabernets; it is one of the few made in California that we would trust to age well for ten to fifteen years in a cool cellar.  Beringer's accomplishment with Cabernet is well documented, but what is new is the sudden ascendancy of Beringer as a powerhouse Chardonnay producer.  For some time the winery's Proprietor Grown Napa Chardonnay has been quite good, but the Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnays are another matter altogether.  At the turn of the last decade, Beringer made several superb Chardonnays - the 1980 Reserve was one of the top wines of that vintage.  Later renditions, however, never seemed to have enough fruit to support the oak.  Finally Sbragia decided to make some important changes.  The result has been seven consecutive Reserve Chardonnays (beginning with the 1990) that have been among the best of each vintage. The 1994 Reserve Chardonnay was the first white wine ever to hold the prestigious title of “Wine of the Year” in The Wine Spectator.   Ed's prowess with Chardonnay has found its ultimate expression with one very special bottling known as "Sbragia-Limited Release".  All five we have tasted to date (1991 was the first vintage) have been spectacular wines which compete with the top Chardonnays made anywhere in the world.  Be on the look out for other exciting wines such as the consistently excellent Knight's Valley Cabernet and the winery's best-kept secret - the Meritage White from Knight's Valley fruit that is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Although Beringer ranks as one of the Napa Valley's largest producers, it is also one of Napa's best and just seems to be getting better and better.  There are a lot more pages in the Beringer saga, in August of 1997 the winery went public offering 25% of its shares for sale.  In the summer of 2000, the winery was sold to Fosters Brewing Company of Australia.  With all of the change at Beringer, one of the things that remain invariable is its winemaker, Ed Sbragia.  He is at the top of his game with a long, even brighter future ahead of him.  When Myron Nightingale passed away, he left a legacy of accomplishments.  Perhaps his greatest was his young apprentice, Ed Sbragia.

Today, Beringer is owned by an Australian firm Treasury Wine Estates and is still considered to be among one of the best wineries of the Napa Valley.      


The rest of the Beringer wines available at Wine Watch:
2017 Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay

2017 Beringer Chardonnay Napa
Price: $18.75       Sale $16.50

Plush and creamy, aromas and flavors of tart citrus lead with hints of white pear, delicious apple and a bit of lemon meringue, caramel and toasted almonds. Balanced, with moderate acidity, the brightness of the Chardonnay fruit shines through.

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. Grapes for the 2017 Napa Valley Chardonnay were harvested between September 6th and September 29th.

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2015 Beringer Waymaker Paso Robles Red Blend
Price: $21.50       Sale $18.92

 

Beringer Vineyards has a legacy of farming unique and important growing regions that dates back to 1876, when two brothers established the winery with a desire to make wines from Napa Valley that rivaled those produced intheir homeland of Germany. That tradition continued in the 1960s with an early stake in Knights Valley, and continues today with wines from outstanding vineyard locations in California’s Central Coast. The Waymaker represents Beringer’s pioneering viticultural past, and its commitment to farming the best of California’s vineyards.

Nestled among the rolling hills near the town of Paso Robles, Camatta Hills is a 600 acre vineyard planted primarily with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Roussanne. The Cuesta Ridge coastal mountain range to the west protects the valley in which the vineyard sits, allowing for even ripening with hot daytime temperatures balanced by cooling Pacific Ocean breezes and maritime fog in the evenings. Camatta’s incredibly chalky limestone soils lend the grapes their most distinctive characteristics. Restrictive soils and small canopies create vines that must stress themselves to reach moisture and nutrients, resulting in great flavor and tannin development.

To maintain the unique characteristics of the different lots from varying areas of the vineyard, Chief Winemaker Laurie Hook monitored each of the lots through vinification and aging. The wines were then aged in a combination of seasoned oak barrels with a small amount of new oak for 17 months to both round and soften the tannins and bring in some additional spice notes. The foundation of the Waymaker is Syrah, a varietal that demonstrates great richness and generosity from Camatta Hills. Cabernet Sauvignon comprises the majority of the balance of the blend, and lends great depth of fruit as well as lifted spice notes. Finally, a portion of Petite Sirah was blended in for its aromatics and rich, inky color.

2014 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Distinctions Napa
Price: $52.50       Sale $46.20

A blend of Reserve Vineyards from Beringer: Bancroft Ranch & Steinhauer on Howell Mountain, Martson Ranch on Spring Mountian and the Home Vineyard in St Helena form the foundation of this mountain and valley floor decadent red. All of these great sites make their way into the famed “Private Reserve Cabernet” from Beringer

Beringer Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 | Wine.com

2015 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley Reserve
Price: $67.50       Sale $59.40

A selection of the best fruit from their Knights valley, there are a bit of other varietals in the blend around 3%, dark currant and cassis berry fruit with layers of cassis currants and toasty oak spice, fresh plowed black earth, black pepper spice.  A big and chewy wine with smooth tannins, that dark earth and dark coco like notes through the finish.  Finish 40+    Excellent

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