2008 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay- Continuing the legacy $27.95 WA94
August 2, 2010 High End Values
Beringer’s Private Reserve program, hands down, makes some of the best wines coming out of Napa, and they do it at reasonable prices. In January 2008 Beringer’s head winemaker, Ed Sbragia, transitioned to a consultant role leaving his protégé, Laurie Hook in charge. If the 2008 vintage of the Chardonnay is any indication, she is doing a fantastic job because this is by far the best 2008 Chardonnay I’ve tasted.
I try to feature wines that are perennial values and Beringer’s Private Reserve Chardonnay (and Cabernet for that matter) is another one of those wines. A blend from multiple Napa vineyards, it’s rich and buttery with a unique smoky nose. An oily mouthfeel is complemented by crisp citric acid and an exceptional finish. To my taste, this is the best Chardonnay under $30 and I haven’t had a better example under $50 in recent memory.
This past week I had the pleasure of dining at Gramercy Tavern in New York. I brought a 1999 Broman Cabernet and a 2003 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet. I really wish I had brought this Chardonnay instead of the Broman (which is a great wine), because it would have been perfect for the seafood-heavy early courses and likely would have blown away any of the $100 bottles of California Chardonnay on their menu. Plus it’s always fun to try multiple varietals from the same winery.
This has been a write up of the 2008 vintage of Beringer’s Private Reserve Chardonnay but it could have been of any vintage. I’m sure the 2009 will be just as good, if not better. This wine usually sells for well over $30 so $27.95 is a heck of a deal.
Robert Parker 94 points
“The 2008 Chardonnay Private Reserve continues the success Beringer has enjoyed with this program. Notes of brioche, hazelnut, marmalade, honeyed tropical fruits, buttered citrus, and a gentle touch of smoke are found in this full-bodied, concentrated wine with impressive purity, depth, and length. It should drink well for 4-5 years.
As I have written in the past, Beringer offers between 200-250 cases of each of their single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons that go into their Private Reserve program. Interestingly, as good as the single vineyard cuvees tend to be, and they’re all very different, the Private Reserve blend is as good or better than the finest single vineyard, demonstrating that the blending process is essential and important.”