Notes from the Winemaker:
With each vintage of the acclaimed Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Beringer Winemaker Laurie Hook chooses the best lots from our reserve vineyards in the Napa Valley, each of which demonstrate remarkable expression of terroir. Beringer’s extraordinary collection of vineyards is the result of a significant and decades-long relationship between viticulture and winemaking. This partnership began with Ed Sbragia and Bob Steinhauer in the 1970’s, and continues today with Winemaker Laurie Hook and vicitulturist Drew Johnson, who has cared for our vineyards for over 20 years. Just as critical as the relationship between viticulture and winemaking is the collaboration between Winemaker Laurie Hook and Ed Sbragia that has shaped the Reserve portfolio. Winemaker Laurie Hook builds on the acclaimed consistency and quality of this wine with the 2008 vintage, which marks her 26th harvest with Beringer.Vintage
The 2008 growing season began with very cool temperatures in the winter and heavy rains. A long frost period and dry spring made the 2008 a unique vintage. Rainfall decreased in the spring and warmer temperatures in August and September got harvest rolling in early September with excellent flavor development.Winemaking
The Beringer reserve vineyards offer Cabernet Sauvignon of such quality that a minimalist approach to winemaking has long defined this special blend. Each vineyard is vinified separately and monitored carefully by Laurie, from the moment the fruit comes into the winery at Harvest. She uses tailored pump-over techniques for optimal extraction, and ages the wines in hand-selected, custom-toasted barrels of new French Nevers oak. Each lot was aged for almost two years before selection of the final blend, to allow each vineyard to express the depth of its unique terroir.
98% Cabernet Sauvignon
1% Cabernet Franc
1% Petit Verdot
93 Points - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar:
What Does It Taste Like?
The 2008 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon shows youthful characters of fresh blackberry, black cherry and blueberry, and has bright characteristics of blackberry and blueberry aromas, accented by notes of toast, graphite, cedar and brown spices. The palette is rich and supple with seamless, mouth-coating tannins. The rich, juicy fruit core is highlighted by flavors of cassis, blackberry, sweet cocoa and a light savory note. A nice acidity lifts the fruit and carries it into a prolonged, pleasing finish.
Ratings & Reviews
bright, deep ruby. Captivating aromas of cassis, licorice and
graphite. Suave and vibrant, with lovely definition to the flavors of
cassis, violet, dark chocolate and minerals. Densely packed, very long
wine with a serious structure for aging. Mostly from St. Helena fruit;
the '07 version was mostly from Howell Mountain. Just 1,200 cases were
bottled, the lowest total ever for this consistently outstanding
cabernet." - Stephen Tanzer (May/June '11)97 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate ('07 Vintage):
"Production: 9,008 cases; Alcohol: 14.6%; Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; Harvest Dates: September 10 to October 24. The 2007 Private Reserve is composed of 34% Bancroft Ranch, 33% Steinhauer Ranch, 8% Chabot Vineyard, 8% Lampyridae, and the remainder from St. Helena Home Vineyard, Marston Ranch and Rancho del Oso fruit. A mild spring and summer with only a handful of heat spikes was followed by beautiful weather in September and October. One of the finest Private Reserves made over the last two decades, this phenomenal wine is obviously still an infant in terms of development, but it exhibits a dense purple color as well as an extraordinary nose of blackberries, white chocolate, licorice, tobacco leaf, smoky barbecue, charcoal and a burning ember-like note reminiscent of a Graves from Bordeaux. A dense, luscious, full-bodied, opulent style, with sweet tannin, this locked and loaded, intense, full throttle Private Reserve should be accessible in 5-6 years and last for 25-30." Robert Parker (June 2011)
95 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate ('07 Vintage):
"There are 10,000 cases of the brilliant 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve. Winemaker Laurie Hook, who worked side by side with Ed Sbragia and now runs the winemaking at Beringer, told me that essentially the Private Reserve consists of 34% from the Bancroft Ranch, 33% from the Steinhauer Ranch, 8% from the Chabot Vineyard, 8% from the Lampyridae Vineyard. 6% from the St. Helena Home Vineyard, 5% from the Marston Vineyard, 3% from Rancho del Oso, 2% Cabernet Franc Steinhauer Ranch and 2% Bancroft Ranch Cabernet Franc. One of the greatest Private Reserves ever made, it ranks alongside the Private Reserves made in 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Its dense plum/purple color is followed by sweet notes of cassis, licorice, smoke and graphite intermixed with hints of bay leaf and chocolate. Full-bodied and velvety-textured with beautifully integrated acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood, it is an opulent, full-bodied Cabernet that should drink beautifully for 20 or more years.
As always, Beringer sells all their single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons that make up the blend for the Private Reserve to their VIP customers at the winery or through their mailing list. Interestingly, each year when I taste through these wines, the sum of the individual parts is always the best wine. In short, the Private Reserve always seems to outscore and show more complexity than most of the single vineyard Cabernets. Nevertheless, it is an exercise in single vineyard terroirs and is an interesting process. Usually there are around 250 cases of each of these single vineyard offerings. The single vineyard offerings are all noteworthy, and analytically, they are more similar than dissimilar. The alcohols range from a low of 14.5% to 14.9%. Not surprisingly, one of my favorites, the Bancroft Ranch, was the largest component part of the Private Reserve." Robert Parker (Dec 2010)94-96 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate ('07 Vintage):
barrel sample of the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve suggests
it is as impressive as the great efforts of 2001, 2002, and 2004.
Opulent and fleshy with an inky/blue/purple hue, it offers up notes of
lead pencil shavings, creme de cassis, blackberries, chocolate, forest
floor, and underbrush. It is a dense, voluptuously-textured offering
that is both a hedonistic and intellectual turn-on that will drink well
for 15 or more years." - Robert Parker (Dec 2009)93 Points - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar ('07 Vintage):
"Deep ruby. Lively aromas of cassis, licorice and violet. Sweet and lush but juicy, with a strong chocolatey character and excellent underlying backbone. Very densely packed cabernet, with suaver tannins than the Steinhauer or Lampyridae bottlings. Finishes with lingering licorice and bitter chocolate notes. A very successful blend: 70% from Howell Mountain, 14% St. Helena, 8% Mt. Veeder and 8% Spring Mountain." Stephen Tanzer (May/Jun 10)91 Points - Wine Spectator Magazine ('07 Vintage):
"Firm, intense and vibrant, featuring a complex, focused core of earthy currant, sage, black licorice and mineral. Full-bodied, yet sleek and trim on the finish, where the flavors are slow to unfold. Best from 2012 through 2022. 9,000 cases made." –JL (Nov 15, 2010)