VINTAGE & VINEYARDS:
A near perfect season, welcomed after several tense vintages, began with abundant February rains followed by drying sun and weather that allowed for even flowering and bud break. The slightly later start was followed by consistently ideal weather, with harvest completed over several weeks to pick blocks at perfect maturity.
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. Older vines featuring the Wente Clone 4 are dominant in this wine.
Each Chardonnay lot is kept separate throughout the aging process for this flagship wine. After sending the fruit directly to press, the juice is fermented in 100 % French oak barrels for 10 months to enhance the natural richness in the wine. Weekly lees stirring enhanced the toasty notes and integrated the oak flavors for an overall balance. The wine is barrel fermented, and all the wine was put through malolactic fermentation to encourage a lush creaminess. After aging, the most expressive lots are chosen and blended to create a richly layered wine with aromas of crème brûlée and rich citrus and fruit flavors.
Fresh and vibrant, well-balanced with medium weight trending to richness, there are classic California Chardonnay notes of honeysuckle, lemon confit, crème brûlée, with aromas and flavors of tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango and tangerine. A light touch of oak leads to a pleasing, lingering finish.
- VARIETAL COMPOSITION: 100% Chardonnay
- VINIFICATION: Aged 10 months in 100% French oak (60% new) with malolactic fermentation on 100% of blend
- Alc: 14.8%
- TA: 5.8 g/L
- pH: 3.74
This is a really solid white with so much structure and depth, as well as a border-less, encompassing palate. Full-bodied and polished with lots of length. Shows complex flavors, from cooked apples and lemons to stones and hints of flowers. Still tight. Needs time to come together. Drink after 2021. - James Suckling 97 points
The 2018 Chardonnay Private Reserve features scents of lemon marmalade, green mango, nectarines and lime leaves with touches of cedar chest, ginger and cloves. Medium to full-bodied, the palate fills the mouth with oak-laced citrus flavors and a refreshing backbone, finishing with a spicy lift. 15,619 cases were made. - Robert Parker 90 points