Wine Spectator 90 points - Massive, with firm tannins and fine structure, this
tightly wound young wine will need time to show
its stuff, as it’s dense and concentrated, offering only
glimpses of what lies ahead. Dried currant, herb, sage
and wild berry flavors, with chewy tannins on the
finish. Those patient enough to cellar it may be in for
a pleasant surprise. Best from 2008 through 2014.—J.L. (May 18 2005)
Wine Advocate 96 points - When all of these cuvees are blended together, the result is the finest Cabernet Sauvignon yet made by Ed Sbragia, the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve (11,000 cases of truly divine Cabernet nectar). For statisticians, 44% came from the Steinhauer Vineyard, 1% from Bancroft Ranch, 17% from Rancho del Oso, 3% from Chabot, 13% from St. Helena Home Ranch, 0% from Quarry Vineyard, and the balance from Marston Vineyard. As I reported last year, the 2001 is an extraordinary effort. Large-scaled yet elegant, it boasts classic notes of creme de cassis, chocolate, and smoky oak. With extraordinary voluptuousness, great concentration, tremendous intensity, and a finish that lasts nearly 60 seconds, this saturated purple-colored, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the greatest wines ever made at Beringer. It is a tribute to the brilliant Ed Sbragia. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2023.
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Wine maker notes
Since 1981, when Ed Sbragia first began
blending the most expressive components from Beringer’s best
vineyards to craft the Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (previously,
Ed had relied only on Chabot Vineyard), he and vineyard manager
Bob Steinhauer have worked steadily to identify Napa Valley sites that
they thought, through proper farming, could be developed into
producing the rich, intensely colored and flavored Cabernet Sauvignon
grapes that Ed requires for the Private Reserve.
In 2001, Ed had six reserve-potential vineyards to draw from, choosing
the best lots after vinification and aging for a final blend that combines
the various vineyard expressions into a well-balanced, full-flavored
whole. In any vintage, Ed’s goal with the Private Reserve is to make a
wine that is greater than the sum of its parts.
With Cabernet of this quality, Ed and his
winemaking partner, Laurie Hook, take a minimalist approach to
winemaking. Vinifying the fruit from each vineyard separately, they
use gentle pump-over techniques for optimal extraction, and then age
the wines in hand-selected, custom-toasted barrels of new French
Nevers oak from coopers with whom Ed has long-established relationships. "I buy barrels
from several coopers for these wines,” Ed explains. "Oak can be as individual as grapes, and
different coopers bring out different nuances just as winemakers do. Some barrels are spicier,
some have more caramel and vanilla notes.” The winemakers put the wines through
100-percent malolactic fermentation for added complexity and softness, and age them for nearly
two years before Ed selects the blend that he feels layers the personalities of the vineyards into
a harmonious whole.
Beringer Vineyards – The Beginning
Our history dates back to the year 1868, when Jacob Beringer, enticed by the splendid opportunities of the new world, sailed from his home in Mainz, Germany to New York. However, New York did not appeal to Jacob and after hearing that the warm and Mediterranean plains of California were quite similar to the vineyards back home, he soon made his way to the Napa Valley. It was here that Jacob Beringer, along with his brother, Frederick Beringer, purchased land for the first Beringer Vineyard in 1875.
Beringer Vineyards – Today
Beringer Vineyards holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley. It is also one of the very few wineries that survived the draconian prohibition of 1922, which lasted over a decade. The estate is also in the National Register for Historic Places as a historic district, a status it has held since 2001. With its perfect blend of modern technology and age old traditions, Beringer Vineyards still produces memorable wines that continue to bring recognition to the company and all of Napa Valley.