Vintage 1997 has already been recognized as exceptional within a decade of outstanding vintages, producing wines of deep concentration and rich tannins that promise longevity. The yields were generous, as were the flavors. Said vineyard manager Bob Steinhauer, "everyone seems to have focused on the size of the crop, but I've been more impressed with the quality. We saw spectacular fruit across the varietals." The grapes for this wine were harvested from September 12 through October 11.
Each year since 1981 Beringer Winemaster Ed Sbragia creates his Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon by choosing the most expressive fruit from a handful of vineyards. His ultimate goal is a wine with a complex aroma, flavor and structural profile that layers the individual vineyard characteristics into a cohesive and balanced whole.
Individual lots of Cabernet Sauvignon from Bancroft Ranch, Tre Colline Vineyard (both on Howell Mountain), Chabot Vineyard, and St. Helena Home (all regular Private Reserve contributors) were blended with a small portion from the Marston Ranch on Spring Mountain
"For over 20 years I've made Private Reserve Cabernet and I always enjoy the process. It was especially rewarding in 1997 because we had such great, ripe fruit to work with. In the days leading up to harvest, the fruit I tasted in the vineyards really got my adrenaline going. When we finally decided to pick, as each lot came into the crush pad, I got more excited—the concentration of flavors was phenomenal! Mouthwatering cherry, blackberry and sweet plum flavors were balanced with a mature phenolic structure and the resulting wine has a juicy-ness factor that I think shows perfect acid-to-fruit balance. I'm always looking for intense flavors and density and this wine has both qualities in spades."
-Ed Sbragia, Winemaster