Tag Archives: Beringer private reserve

Expensive wine 124: Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Beringer private reserveThe Beringer private reserve cabernet shows off the style that made this kind of wine famous

The wine closet continues to offer surprises – witness the high-powered Beringer private reserve, a Napa red. This was a sample from the long ago recession, when producers were so eager to move product that they even sent pricey bottles to me.

The Beringer private reserve ($115, sample, 14.5%) has aged barely at all in that decade. It’s still a huge wine, with rich and luscious black fruit. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would have tasted like if I had opened it when I got it.

And, though the wine isn’t subtle, it’s not overpowering. The structure is round and supple, and if there aren’t layers of flavor, it’s much more than a one-note wine. There are very relaxed tannins hiding in the back, and all that fruit isn’t especially cloying. Despite the high alcohol, it’s not noticeable until you’ve finished the bottle. So it does need food as big as it is.

In this, it’s an excellent example of the style of Napa cabernet so beloved by critics who give points, retailers who use points to sell wine, and wine drinkers who buy wine according to price and points.

Expensive wine 104: Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Beringer private reserve cabernet sauvignonThe Beringer private reserve cabernet sauvignon is a beautiful wine – the kind that reminds me why I love wine and how lucky I am do this

The Beringer private reserve cabernet sauvignon ($100, sample, 14.5%) is Napa Valley red wine made to showcase the grapes and the terroir, something that is becoming a quaint, old-fashioned notion. That the wine has aged so well also speaks to its quality and the care taken to make it.

There is just the right amount of ripe fruit (black cherry? blackberry?), so that it fills your mouth but doesn’t overwhelm it. The fruit is preceded by a delightful green herb and mint aroma, and complemented by fine grained tannins, just the right amount of acidity, and a chalky sort of finish. Even the chocolate oak in the back is spot on – noticeable but not the wine’s reason for being.

In this, it’s a textbook example of balance – something one expects at a wine of this price but doesn’t see often enough. Beringer has been doing this with the private reserve for four decades, another impressive achievement.

Highly recommended, and if not a value, a fair expression of what a $100 wine should taste like. The 2007 will be difficult to find, but more recent vintages are readily available, though appreciably more expensive.