2007 Beringer "Private Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (375ml) (Elsewhere $60)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(includes 3% cabernet franc) 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.
Insistent, very precise Cabernet fruit is the bearing by which this well-made wine steers, and its deep theme of optimally ripened cassis shines through its ample blanket of rich oak and powers on past the youthful tannins that presently rough up its finish. There is even now a sense of precision and style that sets this one apart, and, if never an especially big wine in build, it is very well-stuffed and exudes real varietal confidence from beginning to lasting finish.
Wine & Spirits
Laurie Hook blended this wine from a collection of seven vineyards, the majority coming from Howell Mountain's Bancroft Ranch and Steinhauer sites (70 percent). The power and dark extract of that mountain fruit are plumped up by juicier notes of plums and fat blackberries, all of it wrapped in the char of oak. A potent vintage of Private Reserve, this is built to age ten years or more.
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.