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Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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13.4% ABV
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13.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Original Wine Note: Since I began combining Cabernets from several vineyards for this reserve wine, now almost 20 years ago, Ive been citing the expression, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In this vintage, the wine gives extra proof of that. Each vineyards Cabernet had its characteristic flavors, and the French oak barrels added their own notes, so the wine began with the classic notes of ripe cherries, cassis, light minty herbs, vanilla, spice and toasty oak. But it also has a whole other dimension of aromas and flavors: hints of cocoa, roasted coffee beans, even tobacco and licorice. In the nose and in the mouth, this wine just keeps revealing itself. Uncovering these layers is part of the magic of making and drinking wine, and one of the reasons my job is endlessly fascinating. -Ed Sbragia, Winemaster. 2007 Tasting Note:
Lots of cocoa, cedar, brown sugar, blackberry & sweet spices. Sweet tobacco and mint, with candied violets, vanilla. Luscious, long, rich finish. Pretty fruit and elegant.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast
This wine is still young and precocious, but don’t judge it too quickly. Let it air in your glass, and watch how it changes. One minute it’s all cherries and smoke; the next it heaves up a great draught of currants, cocoa and cedar. It’s a big wine but deceptive; the tannins are airy and lilting, there’s charm and underneath, enormous complexity. It’s best left alone for a few more years, but it’s really very lovely now.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve reveals more concentration as well as higher tannin than the 1995. I know it is a trade-off, but I suspect this vintage will not be as sexy in its youthfulness as the 1995. The black ruby/purple-colored 1996 offers more licorice, in addition to the obvious levels of pain grille, jammy black currant fruit, and spice notes. Structured, full-bodied, and powerful, this may be a Private Reserve to cellar for several years, and consume over the subsequent 15-18.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Complex aromas of dried currant, anise, herb and tar are rich and elegant on the palate, with the tannins softening. Has excellent structure. The best of two bottles.--1996 California Cabernet retrospective. Drink now through 2009.
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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 and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more 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 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.

LSB20427_1996 Item# 20427