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Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2005

Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
  • WE94
  • WS93
  • RP90
14.8% ABV
  • WS92
  • RP90
  • RP90
  • RP90
  • WS90
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4.3 14 Ratings
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4.3 14 Ratings
14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This vineyard, and the relationship we've had with the Bancroft family, has always been deeply special to Ed and myself. We've been making a vineyard-designated Bancroft Ranch Merlot since the 1987 vintage when Ed first demonstrated how fantastic Merlot can be when planted in the right place. Bancroft Ranch consistently produces grapes with amazing concentration of flavors, tannins and structure. The 2005 Howell Mountain Merlot is an exceptionally complex wine, full of espresso and dark cherry aromas that lead into a rich ripe black fruit flavors with hints of cedar and orange rind, brown spice and mint. It has tremendous body, complex layers of black fruit, and a supple, lingering finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
Gigantic, huge. Just erupts with the most intense cassis, chocolate and smoky new oak. Classic Howell Mountain structure, with dense, sweet young tannins and firm acidity. So immature, it’s sappy and jammy now, and is sorely in need of cellaring. Don’t touch before 2011, and should provide enjoyment for many years after.
Cellar Selection
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Plush, refined and impeccably structured. Offers bold aromas of black cherry, bittersweet chocolate and toasty cedar, with rich, complex red currant, licorice and mineral flavors that finish with a flourish of ripe tannins.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The outstanding 2005 Merlot Bancroft Ranch represents Merlot at its finest. Sexy, chocolaty, black cherry and berry fruit intermix with loamy soil and coffee bean nuances, and are impressively presented in this full-bodied, attractive, elegant Merlot. It should drink nicely for a decade or more.
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Beringer

Beringer Vineyards

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Beringer Vineyards, , California
Beringer
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.

Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region and also home to whites of equivalent quality but lesser renown. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation—Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja—wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although single-zone wines are beginning to gain in popularity. Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Baja produce wines with deep color and high alcohol which mainly serve to add body to a blend. While fresh and fruity Riojas labeled “Joven” undergo minimal aging before release, a hallmark of more serious Rioja wines is the aroma and flavor of new oak—traditionally American, which imparts characteristics of dill, coconut, vanilla, and spice to the wine. Tighter-grained, subtler French oak, however, is becoming increasingly common. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged at least one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two, but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.

Tempranillo provides the backbone of Rioja red wines, providing complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body and alcohol. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés. White wines are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura, which is usually blended with aromatic Malvasia and weighty Garnacha Blanca. White Rioja has traditionally been made in a nutty, oxidative style, though a bright, unoaked version is currently in vogue.

Tempranillo

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. It is important throughout Spain as well as in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz and is an important component of Port wines and the table wines of the Douro region that Port calls home. California, Washington, and Oregon have all had moderate success with Tempranillo, producing a riper, more fruit-forward style of wine.

In the Glass

Tempranillo is often aged in new oak for the integration of spicy, woodsy, and herbal flavors, often with hints of vanilla, coconut, and dill. The grape itself produces medium-weight reds with bright red and black fruit aromas and hints of spice, leather, and tobacco, with no shortage of flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity make it extremely food friendly, pairing with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew, or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a system is in place to indicate on the label how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release, which is helpful to the consumer trying to determine the style of an unfamiliar wine. Rioja can range from Joven (fresh, fruity, and unoaked) to Gran Reserva (complex and oxidized from extended barrel aging), with Crianza and Reserva in between.

HOR62228_2005 Item# 112044

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