1998 Beringer "Private Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1015913 91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Ruby-red. Cherry, redcurrant, plum, lead pencil and loam on the nose. Almost magically sweet, deep and lush for the vintage, with spicy red fruit flavors framed by harmonious, ripe acids. At once gentle and gripping. Finishes very long, with big, sweet tannins. Beringer has a lot of fruit sources to draw from for its Private Reserve bottling, and as a result Sbragia has been able to transcend this difficult vintage with a wonderfully sweet, lush Cabernet. (ST)  (5/2001)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 This was one of the latest harvests ever in Napa Valley (because of very cold weather during both spring and summer), and the mountain vineyards took even longer to reach maturity. From the Tre Colline, Chabot and St. Helena Home vineyards as well as tiny components from the Bancroft Ranch and Marston Ranch sites, the 1998 Private Reserve is fully mature, but should keep for another 5-10 years. More French than Napa in style, this earthy, spicy, foresty, herbal-scented wine reveals sweet plum, cola, cedar and mint notes, a healthy dark plum/garnet color, a medium-bodied mouthfeel, and lots of mineral earthiness (a characteristic of this cooler year). (RP)  (5/2011)


 Good deep red. Aromatic, open-knit aromas and flavors of plum, mocha, spices and earth, plus just a hint of pyrazines. Supple and sweet but showing modest complexity. A round, approachable midweight that's not at all overly green for 1998. The dusty tannins turn a bit dry on the savory, slightly rigid finish. Beringer made a very small quantity of this wine in the difficult 1998 vintage, and it's distinctly lighter than the '97 bottling. (ST)  (7/2015)

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Price: $79.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

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.


- 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.
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.