By Ryan Koczara
Price Range : $35 - 41
Region: Napa Valley, California Ready to Drink: 2-3 years after bottle vintage
In 1876, brothers and German immigrants Jacob and Frederick Beringer founded Beringer Vineyards, which is currently the longest continually running winery in Napa Valley. Approximately a century after its founding, Beringer rolled out its Private Reserve program to showcase the best wines Beringer had to offer. Since then, the Private Reserve wines have earned consistent critical acclaim and served as a benchmark for Napa Valley wines.
The 2014 BERINGER Private Reserve Chardonnay is a delicate, integrated and balanced Chardonnay that perpetuates the reputation of the Private Reserve brand. The wine’s crystalline, pale yellow color aesthetically pleases. The olfactory senses are treated to notes of tropical fruit that carry over to the palate but mingle with more pronounced coconut, apple, lemon curd and oak. A plush mouthfeel is accompanied by a persistent, citrusy zest that leads to a long (45 seconds), graceful finish. There’s no apparent weakness in this Chardonnay, and it does have the ability to transport you to an ethereal realm. Priced in the area of $30-40 at most stores, the wine is—dare we say—obscenely underpriced given its quality.
The accomplishment of the founders of Beringer Vineyards might well represent what it means to achieve the American Dream. The Private Reserve Chardonnay, a wine that’s been around for nearly 40 years, is a classic expression of American Chardonnay—and represents, in our view, the strength of the founders’ vision. –R.K.