VINTAGE & VINEYARDS:
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. Most late-ripening red grapes continued to hang on the vine and were picked throughout October. Luminus is a single vineyard Chardonnay from Beringer’s Big Ranch Vineyard, located 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. A selection of Burgundian clones which showed excellent early development provide an elegant complexity and fruit weight to the blend.
Each Chardonnay lot was kept separate throughout the aging process. After sending the fruit directly to press, the juice is fermented in seasoned French and Hungarian oak barrels (53% percent new). None of the wine went through secondary malolactic fermentation. The lees were stirred every other week to integrate the subtle oak notes and develop a polished texture. Winemaking focused on showcasing the unique characteristics of Oak Knoll Chardonnay at the highest level, and achieved this with the final blend made after nine months of aging in barrels.
A lively freshness is the hallmark of Luminus, which leads with aromas of citrus and delicate white blossoms, giving way to flavors of lemon zest, butterscotch, hazelnut nougat, and nectarines, with white pear and a clove spice coming from the Hungarian oak influence. A rich, creamy mouthfeel resulting from bâttonage, hints of minerality and noticeable depth leave a lasting impression.
- Aged: 9 months in French and Hungarian oak (53% new)
- Alc: 14.3%
- TA: 6.0g/L
- pH: 3.65
Peach pit, passion fruit, citrus rind and hints of dried mangoes. Full body and lots of fleshy tropical and stone fruit that’s threaded together by bright acidity into an oily core and medium-long finish. - James Suckling 93 Points
The 2017 Chardonnay Luminus is done in a brighter, fresher style than the flagship Private Reserve Chardonnay. Much of that can be attributed to the cooler microclimate of the Big Ranch Road property in Oak Knoll. The Luminus is aged in equal parts French and Hungarian oak, the latter used for an accent of spice to complement the citrus and floral notes that are typical of this wine. - Vinous Media 92 Points
From a single vineyard in Oak Knoll, the 2017 Chardonnay Luminus is made as a counterpart to the Reserve and is a leaner, crisp, Chablis-like effort. White flowers, tart citrus, and crushed rock notes all emerge from this nicely balanced, medium-bodied effort that has some appealing reductive and mineral characteristics. Brought up in equal parts French and Hungarian oak (53% new), it’s another terrific white from this team that’s well worth your time and money. - Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
A vibrant style, with notes of flint and slate to the honeysuckle, green peach and dried citrus flavors. Hints of fennel show on the finish. Drink now through 2023. 4,912 cases made. - Wine Spectator Magazine 90 Points