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Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 1994

Merlot from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
  • RP92
  • WS90
0% ABV
  • WS92
  • RP90
  • WE94
  • WS93
  • RP90
  • RP90
  • RP90
  • WS90
  • WS88
  • WE92
  • WS92
  • RP91
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

"One of the most dazzling Merlots they have yet produced. the wine opens quickly in the glass. The dark ruby/purple color is followed by smoky, chocolatey, and black cherry aromas with new oak in the background. In the mouth, this wine is full-bodied, with explosive levels of glycerin and richness on the back of the palate. Dense, concentrated, tannic, and angular, it is capable of lasting 15+ years."- Robert Parker

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Beringer's Merlot Bancroft Vineyard from their holdings on Howell Mountain tends to be a blend of approximately 90% Merlot and equal portions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The 1994 Merlot Bancroft Vineyard is one of the most dazzling Merlots they have yet produced. While closed initially, the wine opens quickly in the glass. The dark ruby/purple color is followed by smoky, chocolatey, and black cherry aromas with new oak in the background. In the mouth, this wine is full-bodied, with explosive levels of glycerin and richness on the back of the palate. Dense, concentrated, tannic, and angular, it is capable of lasting 15+ years. In fact, I recommend 3-4 years of cellaring before serious consumption begins.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Elegant and complex, with herb-scented black cherry, currant, coffee and cranberry notes, finishing with firm, dry tannins, but enough fruit pushes forth to hold your interest.
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Beringer

Beringer Vineyards

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Beringer Vineyards, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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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.

Howell Mountain

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Today Cabernet Sauvignon is the star of this part of Napa’s rugged, eastern hills, but Zinfandel was responsible for giving the Howell Mountain growing area its original fame in the late 1800s.

Winemaking in Howell Mountain was abandoned during Prohibition, and wasn’t reawakened until the arrival of Randy Dunn, a talented winemaker famous for the success of Caymus in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early eighties, he set his sights on the Napa hills and subsequently astonished the wine world with a Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Shortly thereafter Howell Mountain became officially recognized as the first sub-region of Napa Valley (1983).

With vineyards at 1,400 to 2,000 feet in elevation, they predominantly sit above the fog line but the days in Howell Mountain remain cooler than those in the heart of the valley, giving the grapes a bit more time on the vine.

The Howell Mountain AVA includes 1,000 acres of vineyards interspersed by forestlands in the Vaca Mountains. The soils, shallow and infertile with good drainage, are volcanic ash and red clay and produce highly concentrated berries with thick skins. The resulting wines are full of structure and potential to age.

Today Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah thrive in this sub-appellation, as well as its founding variety, Zinfandel.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

POE132280_1994 Item# 132280