"Knights Valley is a very special place for us at Beringer. As you drive over the
mountain from St. Helena, the valley opens up before your eyes and you immediately
feel transported to another time, where things are slower and more rustic. This wine
captures that place with great intensity of black fruit aromas and flavors that continue
to a long satisfying finish." —Laurie Hook, Winemaker
To maintain the unique characteristics of the different lots from varying areas of the
vineyard, Laurie kept them all separate through vinification and aging. Extended
maceration extracted a maximum of color, aromas and flavors. The wines were then
aged in small French Nevers oak barrels (30% new) for sixteen months. After aging,
Laurie blended the lots of Cabernet Sauvignon to highlight Knights Valley's
characteristically bright black cherry fruit. The wine also has toasty oak, vanilla, cedar
and smoky aromas accented by a pretty background of pink peppercorn, cocoa and
mint. Small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petite Sirah were added for additional
complexity. A full mouth of sweet, zesty and rich black fruit is supported by nice bright
acidity and ripe tannins.
"An appealing wine showing likeable softness and flashy flavors. The palate brings cassis, mocha, licorice, sweet tobacco, sage, Asian spice and smoky oak; finisheds long and rich. Notable for its superb structure." -Wine Enthusiast
No winery or vineyard more thoroughly embodies the timeless appeal and seductive flavor of Napa Valley than Beringer Vineyards, Napa's benchmark producer since the establishment of the vineyard in 1876.
Now in its third century of crafting classic wines from Napa's finest appellations and vineyards, Beringer today is guided by the inspired partnership of celebrated Winemaster Emeritus Ed Sbragia and Winemaker Laurie Hook. Together, they craft Napa Valley wines that speak eloquently of the rich heritage of the Beringer Vineyard, while offering cutting-edge quality and contemporary elegance. The exquisite wines crafted at the Beringer Vineyards display a single minded dedication and pursuit of excellence instilled by its founder, Jacob Beringer.
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Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
This wine has a nice ruby color, aromas of cedar and vanilla. Lush fruit on the front end - plum and berry - and a solid tannic structure. Only fault may be that it's too tannic, even after decanted for about an hour. Your tongue feels like it's been coated in velvet, but just a bit too much for my taste. At $20, it's a fantastic value; let it age a year or two, and you've got a wine that may taste like you paid twice as much as you really did.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.