The grapes for this commemorative bottling were grown on two Beringer vineyards, Bancroft Ranch and Tre Colline, at an elevation of 1,800 feet on Howell Mountain. Located above the summer fog line, this area enjoys more sun exposure but cooler average temperatures than vineyards on the valley floor, prolonging the grapes hang time and allowing for slow, even ripening. The soil at Bancroft Ranch, gritty white tuff of volcanic origin, is shallow, infertile and extremely well drained. The vines produce small, intensely flavored berries with powerful, concentrated fruit flavors and thick tannin-rich skins. The soils at Tre Colline Vineyard ("three hills" in Italian, referring to the vineyards gentle slopes within its mountain site) are also volcanic, but the color is deep red and the texture is friable and loose.
"There is an inevitable focus on Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley because of the intense flavors and beautiful, tightly knit structure were able to achieve here with that grape. But Ive been fascinated with the idea of bottling separately the wines I make with the complex, aromatic Cabernet Franc grape, which has achieved such stunning flavors in Cheval Blanc. The same Howell Mountain vineyards that give me great Cabernet Sauvignon produce great Cabernet Franc as well. The grapes yield a dense, deep wine with an immediate, mouth-filling hit of dark berry fruits backed by more subtle layers of cedary spices. And theres an amazing length to the finish thats typical of the Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc-the reason I always add a little to my Private Reserve Cabernet. The firm structure promises considerable longevity for this wine, appropriate for celebrating our third century of winemaking at Beringer well into the next decade."
-Winemaster, Ed Sbragia