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Flat front label of wine

Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L Magnum) 1997

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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  • WE93
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

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

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Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Production: 24,000 cases; Alcohol: 14%; Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; Harvest Dates: September 12 to October 11. A bountiful, nearly perfect crop of consistently high quality grapes was created by flawless weather with moderate, but steady temperatures throughout the summer and beautiful weather in September and October. The result is a great vintage in both quality and quantity. The fruit came from five separate vineyards, Bancroft Ranch and Tre Colline on Howell Mountain, Chabot and St. Helena Home Vineyard, and for the first time, a small portion came from the Marston Ranch on Spring Mountain. Still densely purple-colored, the 1997 exhibits wonderful plum, blackberry, cedar, spice and subtle smoky oak notes, a gorgeously opulent texture, full-bodied power and hints of roasted espresso and white chocolate in the flavors. This beauty can be drunk now and over the next 12-15+ years. One of the all-time great Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserves, it also has the highest production to date of this cuvee.
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
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Beringer

Beringer Vineyards

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Beringer Vineyards, 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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley and Washington, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin, and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb, and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

SSR84484_1997 Item# 84484