Beringer Knights Valley Alluvium Red 2006
As has become tradition, Laurie kept all of the lots separate during vinification and aging so that the subtle differences of each individual lot of the vineyard are exhibited. She tasted the lots frequently, closely monitoring fermentations and ensuring a rich, garnet color and silky tannins. The wines were then aged in small French oak barrels (53% new) for 14 months to soften the tannins and add layers of toasty oak, cedar, vanilla and sweet spice. Laurie's careful monitoring and then blending of each of these lots and varietals results in a seamless and utterly unique wine. The final blend is 79% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, and small portions of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot.
"Blending the Alluvium is as rewarding as it is challenging, with a commitment to create an expression of the best red Bordeaux varietals with each vintage. The proprietary Alluvium name pays homage to the alluvial soils of Knights Valley, a vineyard that Beringer has a rich history with, and one that consistently rewards me with wonderful fruit to work with. The 2006 Alluvium is ripe with cassis and cedar aromas, along with hints of cardamom and cocoa. Flavors of sun-ripened cherries, vanilla bean and a lip-smacking blackberry finish make this an instantly enthralling wine." - Laurie Hook, Beringer Vineyards 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.
A small and picturesque valley separating Napa Valley on its south border and Alexander Valley to its north, Knights Valley excels in similar varieties as the two aforementioned appellations, namely red Bordeaux varieties and blends, as well as Sauvignon blanc. Originally established by Beringer Vineyards, today several outstanding producers claim acreage here. The circadian cooling effects of the nearby Pacific Ocean create a nighttime respite for vineyards during the hot growing season.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.