2012 Beringer "Private Reserve" Napa Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1154393 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 For its size and prominence, the St. Helena flagship Beringer winery does a remarkable job with the quality of its offerings. They have been fortunate to choose a brilliant line-up of chief winemakers, from Ed Sbragia, to Laurie Hook. The following group of wines, coming primarily from 2012 for the reds, and 2012 and 2013 for the whites, is one of the strongest I have tasted with them. That is reassuring when you consider the enormous size of the umbrella Treasury Estates that owns Beringer. The Chardonnay Private Reserve became famous under the helmsmanship of chief winemaker Ed Sbragia, and Laurie Hook has refined it ever so slightly by somewhat backing off the oak, and maintaining the depth and richness, but with more precision and refinement. The full-bodied 2012 Chardonnay Private Reserve exhibits wonderful orange blossom, white peach and pineapple fruit, a subtle touch of vanillin and toast, and a nicely layered, pure style with terrific fruit intensity. It is a great value, especially if you compare its quality to just about any premier cru or grand cru white Burgundy selling for 2-10 times as much. Drink now .  (10/ 2014)

93 points Wine Spectator

 *Hot Wines* Shows off seductive notes of smoky, toasty oak and cream, with fresh, rich, vibrant fruit to match. The flavors of poached pear, fig, honeydew melon, spice and black licorice all fold together on a long, pure, persistent finish. Drink now through 2020.  (4/ 2014)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (14.7% alcohol; 80% new French oak; full malo): Bright, light yellow. Tight nose offers scents of lemon oil, white peach and stone; higher-pitched and less obviously oaky than the Luminis bottling. At once thick and vibrant on the palate, offering a lovely balance of sweetness and acidity. Richer, deeper and more complete than the Luminis, filling the mouth with citrus and stone fruit flavor without coming off as heavy. Long on the finish  (5/ 2014)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is classic Beringer Private Reserve Chard, ripe, oaky, lush, balanced and utterly delicious. There’s a lot of everything, from massive tropical and citrus fruits to creamy lees. The malolactic fermentation helps make it buttery and 80% new French oak brings buttered toast and vanilla-bean richness. Balance comes by way of acidity and minerality.  (4/ 2014)

K&L Notes

According to Robert Parker: "Despite the enormity of this enterprise (multiple wineries and a global network), the flagship estate in northern California, Beringer Vineyards, continues to be in very capable winemaking hands, and the quality of the wines remains exceptionally impressive, particularly when you look at some of the huge production numbers of their lower priced offerings." (10/2013) From the winery: "Each Chardonnay lot was kept separate throughout the aging process. After sending the fruit directly to press, winemaker Laurie Hook fermented the juice in French oak barrels (88 percent new) to enhance the natural richness in the wine. Weekly lees stirring enhanced the toasty notes, and integrated the oak flavors for an overall balance. All of the wine was put through malolactic fermentation to encourage a lush creaminess. After 9 months aging, Laurie chose the most expressive lots and blended them to create a richly layered wine with aromas of crème brulee and rich citrus and fruit flavors. Aromas of grilled stone fruits and toasted hazelnuts are complemented by flavors of ripe tropical fruit and notes of lemon and lime. A generous, creamy mouthfeel is rounded out by balanced acidity and a lengthy, elegant finish."

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Price: $34.99

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Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.7