The Buyer
Vertical tasting: Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Vertical tasting: Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is regarded as quintessential Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, produced by the longest continually-running wine estate in California. Here’s our pick of a 20-year vertical that took place at London’s Wine Fair.

Geoffrey Dean
24th May 2016by Geoffrey Dean
posted in Tasting: Wine ,

London’s Wine Fair was the setting for a vertical tasting of Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, celebrating 20 years of the pinnacle of the Beringer portfolio

Beringer assistant winemaker Ryan Rech who conducted the London tasting

Wine: Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

1996: voluptuous, ripe fruit; vibrant acidity; tannins still noticeable but seamlessly integrated and silky tannins; elegance and finesse with a long finish; fruit flavours and concentration heightened by above average temperatures in August. 4% Cab Franc added.

2002: a colder than normal vintage led to lower pH levels and higher acidity; ripe supple tannins nonetheless thanks to warmer temperatures at harvest time which enabled full physiological maturity; lots of complexity and very good intensity with notes of cherry, cedar and black fruit. 14.2% abv.

2005: fruitset delayed by late rains in early growing season. Cool summer with very few heat spikes followed by warm September and October delivered nearly perfect conditions. A later-than-usual harvest resulted in extended hang-time and full ripeness. More extraction led to overt tannins which have now integrated beautifully. Lots of concentration with red and black fruit as well as cedar notes. 14.5% abv.

2007: mild spring and summer resulted in even, steady ripening and even development of acids, sugars and phenolics. Dry conditions led to small berries and notable concentration. Fruit added from Mt Veeder hillside vineyards. A big wine with fabulous intensity of flavour. Black fruit, mouth-coating tannins and a long finish. 14.6% abv

2012: more overtly tannic than the other wines; lovely balance despite 14.9% abv. Perfect growing conditions led to optimal ripeness. Opaque colour with long, lingering finish. Great purity of fruit with aromas of chocolate, liquorice and creme de cassis. Full-bodied texture and sensuous mouthfeel. Awarded 96 points by Robert Parker.

6 Things you need to know about Beringer:

  • Treasury Wine Estates have owned the St. Helena AVA winery since 2011, succeeding Fosters who acquired it in 2000.
  • Beringer, which was founded in 1875, is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley
  • Chief winemaker, Mark Beringer, is the great-great grandson of Beringer Vineyards founding brother, Jacob Beringer. The family sold the winery in 1971 to Nestle.
  • Ryan Rech, who formerly made wine at another Treasury-owned Napa Valley winery, Chateau St Jean, works under Mark Beringer as his no 2.
  • Laurie Hook, who joined Beringer in 1987, was chief winemaker from 2000-2015, and has has gone ‘upstairs’ to become Winemaker ‘Emeritus.’
  • The Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was first made in 1977. A year later, the Private Reserve Chardonnay label was introduced.