Beringer Vineyards

Finding history, quality, and perspective in one of Napa’s oldest—and biggest—wineries.




 

Almond nougat and dried orange peel aromas greet the nose followed by rich, smoky honeycomb notes and the spice of toasty oak. There’s a pop of tangerine on entry and this is downright flannelly on the palate, showing tremendous richness and creamy, honeyed pineapple and guava flavors on the short finish. A bit of a powerhouse, but this is more dense than huge. A bit soft for me, nonetheless well made in its style. 91 points
 

Dark fruit accented with lightly stemmy olive notes greets the nose, followed by a smoky top note over a nice base note of sweet bramble and blackberry fruit with slightly leathery accents. This is silky with slightly chalky tannins that offer nice cut on the palate. There’s a lot of fruit here, pretty purplish fruit with nice cranberry edges that leads to deep blackcurrant and blackberry flavors that are nicely bright on the palate and framed with spice and mocha accents. With time, this turns fairly tannic, very clean and fresh, with a moderately long finish that turns a touch pasty on the finale with just a little wood tannins sticking out. Medium full-bodied and smooth yet faceted, this is a safe bet to please a lot of people. 90 points
 

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Petite Verdot

Fine tobacco, nut, tomato leaf and sweet slightly jammy red fruits offer lovely complexity on the nose, with really fine grape spice and integrated wood spice aromas. This is big and broad in the mouth, with soft slightly chewy tannins early followed by late-arriving tannins that are a bit harder. A touch inky on the front, broad and slightly matte on the mid-palate, this picks up steam on the back end with rich blackcurrant and candied blackberry fruit flecked with bright black spice and soft herb-inflected flavors that drop off onto a slightly wood-sweetened finish with plenty of coffee and mocha tones. Powerful but relatively well balanced, this is a rather muscular and spicy wine for Beringer which today, while the quality is evident, comes off a bit clumsy.  89 points
 

A little tight on the nose, showing slightly unusual aromas that include a bit of green olive, low smoked herb notes and stemmy notes. Aromatically this is fairly savory and a little floral, with early black fruit then dried cranberry aromas. While a bit soft on entry, this turns bright with red cherry and cranberry fruit on the palate and just a little meaty edge. With some nuanced oak notes, this is broad in the mouth, with cherry fruit that darkens on the palate, offering nice length though the finish does turn a touch chewy with wood tannins. Perhaps a bit too meaty and savory for many folks, this does speak of its place. 88 points
 

Barrel fermented, 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Semillon.

Nutty on the nose, with low waxy apricot and peach aromas topped with a fine green herbal edge and a hint of floral character. Round, rich and relatively powerful in the mouth with lots of bright, acid-tinged greengage plum flavors over a nice backdrop of wood influence. While opulent, this remains rather elegant in the mouth, with a hint of minerality on the palate, gooseberry fruit on the moderately long, tense finish that shows a  flash of hickory smoke on the finale. This really does show a nice marriage of creaminess and brightness. 88 points
 
2011 Beringer Modern Heritage Chardonnay Stanly Ranch Carneros $22

Stony on the nose, with a hint of dry stem notes topped with cider apple and pear peel aromas.  Linear on the palate, though this does shows some richness in the mouth with early lemon flavors followed by a nice touch of stony astringency, as well with a hint of peach. This is moderately big with a fruit-driven finish that shows off lovely lemon and almost under-ripe pineapple.  Dry and deep, this shows lovely richness wrapped around a fine acidic spine. 88 points

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Beringer Vineyards

1.
Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Steinhauer Ranch (2009)
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2.
Beringer Vineyards Nightingale Private Reserve (2007)
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3.
Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay (2011)
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4.
Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley (2010)
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5.
Beringer Quantum Red Blend (2010)
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6.
Beringer Pinot Noir Napa Valley Los Carneros Stanly Ranch (2011)
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7.
Beringer Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc California Stone Cellars (2010)
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Comments

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 2,876

    It's easy to scoff at the big, now-corporate wineries like Beringer, Beaulieu, Mondavi and the like, but what you say is true. What's unfortunate is that many of them have diluted the brand by extending it into lesser wines carrying the same or confusingly similar labels and appellation designations. In fairness, some of those have represented good values, too, and once or twice made available some grapes from heritage sites that otherwise would disappear. (BV Maestro Series grenache from South Hart Vineyard comes to mind.) Your point about coastal insularity--if we want something out of the way, no problem--is well taken. For folks who travel to Indiana or Kansas, finding things like Beringer Private Reserve or Mondavi Reserve on the wine list or at a shop can be a godsend, even if snobs may scoff at folks for whom those wines are the alpha and omega of their wine world.

    Apr 29, 2013 at 3:25 PM


  • Snooth User: marstiger
    364819 2

    Per Foxall's comments above - I am in a large metropolitan area. But some of the best little mom and pop restaurants do not have great wine lists. So again finding a Beringer Private Reserve means I will have a nice meal. So thank you for reminding us that the old guard wineries can still have a pleasant set of choices.

    Apr 29, 2013 at 4:43 PM


  • I concur with the comments above. It has been many years since I have been to Napa, but I have very fond memories of wine tasting at Beringer's Rhine House. At that time, they had their Reserve tasting room upstairs, so you got a chance to get a close look at the stained glass windows in the stairway. The Reserve tasting definitely changed our minds about the brand.

    Apr 29, 2013 at 8:58 PM


  • Snooth User: Tiakittie
    1041141 85

    Visiting Beringer is at the Top of my Napa Valley bucket list! Their Knight's Valley Cabernet was my first intro to Napa wines and remains a watermark for me!! I will drink anything Beringer you put in front of me (include the California Collection...which is an excellent example of entry-level priced wine at a better than entry quality!!), and to heck with the wine snobs who froo-froo me for "going commercial"! Thanks for the reminder that not all good wine has to be obscure or French!!

    Apr 30, 2013 at 5:51 PM


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