With rich, lively fruit flavors of raspberries and plums, accents of peppery spice, silky tannins and just a hint of black truffle, this vineyard designated Pinot Noir is a uniquely Californian version of its Burgundian counterpart. Vintage Release: September 1998
Carneros, the portion of Napa Valley with the strongest maritime influences because of its location bordering San Pablo Bay, was recognized as a separate American Viticultural Area (AVA ) in 1983. Because of its shallow soils and microclimate, characterized by cool evenings and morning fogs that help maintain the acid and sugar balance in the grapes, it is considered Napa Valleys best growing area for Pinot Noir. Beringer acquired the Stanly Ranch vineyard in Carneros in the early 1990s, and winemaker Ed Sbragia released his first Pinot Noir from the vineyard with the 1994 vintage.
To make the wine, Ed chose whole-berry fermentation combined with gentle punch-down of the cap to retain the somewhat delicate, layered fruit and spice qualities of the Pinot Noir grapes. ""The Burgundians have been perfecting these techniques for years,"" Ed explains, ""and weve found that they go a long way to achieving maximum flavor without losing subtlety."" Following fermentation, Ed aged the wine for 20 months in French Nevers oak barrels, combining new and one-year-old barrels for flavor balance.
""To me, this wine demonstrates an important point about California Pinot Noir. Fruit is the watchword, and what I love in this wine is the interweaving flavors of raspberries, plums, peppery spice and a hint of black truffle. Oak aging enhances the spice notes, and the tannins are soft and silky, making you want to come back for more. Apart from the deeply earthy aromas and flavors of their French counterparts in Burgundy, the Pinots that we are making have their own distinctive personality.""
-Ed Sbragia, Winemaker
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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Technically a part of Napa Valley, the Carneros region straddles both Sonoma & Napa counties. It's the Napa region closest to the San Francisco peninsula and the San Pablo Bay, which is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo bay create a cool weather pattern ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros are delicate, yet complex, with firm structure and acidity. And while the pair are the most popular varieties of the region, some winemakers have branched out, particularly with Syrah. The cool climate Syrah of Carneros is well structured and stylistically similar to Syrah from the Northern Rhone, though often fuller-bodied.
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.
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.