Last Thursday, March 31st, we hosted Mark Beringer of Beringer Vineyards. Since he is the great, great grandson of one of the two (Jacob Beringer), founders and head winemaker, this was a real treat!
Beringer Vineyards was founded in 1876 by brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer with the dream to make wines that rival the finest in Europe. In 1883, they built the historic Rhine House, which is where they now host private tastings.
We tasted through their Private Reserve Series, Distinction Series and Regional Series.
The Beringer Private Reserve Series represents the best of what Beringer can do. Former Chief Winemakers Myron Nightingale and Ed Sbragia created the Private Reserve program in 1977, with the goal of crafting Napa’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon. The Private Reserve Chardonnay was introduced in the 1978 vintage, and together these wines have earned three decades of extraordinary accolades, including two “Wine of the Year” awards from Wine Spectator Magazine. These wines are routinely rated 90 points or better by Robert Parker, and he’s been collecting them for decades. We compared the 2010 Private Reserve Cabernet to the 2012, and while both delicious, the 2010 had a lot more depth and structure. The 2013 Private Reserve Chardonnay was the hit of the night with the highest number of case sales.
New to the Beringer portfolio, the Distinction Series of wines was created to highlight particularly unique vineyard sites and blends. We featured the 2012 Quantum Red Blend, the 2012 Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2014 Luminus Chardonnay. The Distinction series allows Chief Winemaker Mark Beringer to take risks, experiment, and explore new, and innovative ways of working with the various vineyard sites.
The 2012 Quantum has been a Wine on the Way favorite since the summer, however, the Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet was my favorite and what is really interesting is that in 1960 the Beringer family pioneered planting grapes in that region and created the AVA.
After decades of pioneering diverse wines, Beringer started the Regional Estates which showcase the the range of expressions found in the regions of Napa Valley, Knights Valley and Paso Robles. All the vineyards at Beringer are entirely sustainably farmed. 2013 The Waymaker from Paso Robles was a super smooth blend that Adam and I both really enjoyed and, although it’s not rated yet, at $25 per bottle, it is a great everyday wine that will please everyone.
One of the best things about our business is the people who we get to enjoy wine with and one of our good friends, Michael Borcheck, brought in bottles of 1986 and 1995 Private Reserve Cabernet to compare to the current vintages. Although sadly the 1986 was oxidized, the 1995 was drinking quite beautifully.