VINTAGE & VINEYARDS:
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended season helped to balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors.
Luminus is a single-vineyard Chardonnay from Beringer’s Big Ranch Vineyard in the Oak Knoll AVA. Located on the valley floor and at the southern end of the Napa Valley, Big Ranch is an ideal location for this style of Chardonnay owing to the cooling influence of the San Pablo Bay, preserving nice acidity and minerality in the grapes.
Each Chardonnay lot was kept separate throughout the aging process. After sending the fruit directly to press, the juice is fermented in seasoned French oak barrels (26% new). The lees were stirred every other week to integrate the subtle oak notes and develop a polished texture. The focus of the wine is to showcase the unique characteristics of Oak Knoll Chardonnay at the highest level, and is achieved with the final blend made after eight months of aging in barrel.
The 2016 Luminus offers bright citrus notes and a touch of minerality with a solid acid backbone. There is a hint of oak spice and a rich mouthfeel from bâttonage. This wine is delicate, yet bold in showing its personality, set off by toasted hazelnut and a lingering, memorable finish.
Malolactic fermentation on 33% of the blend.
Aged 8 months in French oak (26% new).
Attractive freshness and gently flinty citrus fruits. Aromas of melon and hazelnut nougat follow and lead to a palate with lemon, grapefruit, grilled peaches and nectarines. Layered and textural. Some pithy grip to close. This has attractive freshness and composure. Drink now. - James Suckling 92 Points
Rich and plush, this has plenty of buttery notes to the ripe apple, pear and dried ginger flavors. Creamy finish. Drink now through 2020. 12,000 cases made. -KM - Wine Spectator Magazine 91 Points
The 2016 Chardonnay Luminus has an exuberant tropical nose bursting with pineapple and guava over hints of butterscotch, croissant and beeswax. The medium to full-bodied palate is packed with vibrant flavors, supported by a racy backbone and finishing with a toasty edge. 12,300 cases were made. - Robert Parker 89 Points