2008 Beringer Chardonnay Private Reserve

Year: 2008
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 92
Wine Advocate: 94
Vinous Media: 92
Connoisseurs' Guide: 91
California Grapevine: 89
White Wine
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"Big, ripe and complex, with full-bodied apple, melon, pear and citrus notes that gain depth and turn creamy in texture, picking up a dash of anise and cedar on the finish. Drink now through 2014." (WS)

"The 2008 Chardonnay Private Reserve continues the success Beringer has enjoyed with this program. Notes of brioche, hazelnut, marmalade, honeyed tropical fruits, buttered citrus, and a gentle touch of smoke are found in this full-bodied, concentrated wine with impressive purity, depth, and length. It should drink well for 4-5 years.

As I have written in the past, Beringer offers between 200-250 cases of each of their single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons that go into their Private Reserve program. Interestingly, as good as the single vineyard cuvees tend to be, and they’re all very different, the Private Reserve blend is as good or better than the finest single vineyard, demonstrating that the blending process is essential and important." (WA)

"($37) Bright yellow. Grape and pineapple fruit aromas are enlivened by floral lift and solid minerality. Broad, dense, ripe and sweet, with a chewy, saline quality and some smoky oak notes contributing to this wine's impressively tactile mouth feel. Finishes long, ripe and sweet, with stone and citrus fruit flavors and solid underlying structure." (IWC)

"Never a shrinking violet, Beringer's Private Reserve Chardonnay is once again a rich, fully expressed big-bodied offering with early smells of honey and ripe apples and underlying suggestions of pastry crust, Meyer lemons and sweet cream. Somewhat soft at entry and viscous to the point of being just a bit heavy, this one never lacks for personality, and while it could use a touch more acidity to go with many dishes, it has all the depth and range to accompany blackened salmon or a lightly curried seafood stew. It needs no age but will not fade soon." (CG)

"2008 Beringer, “Private Reserve,” Napa Valley ($35) – Medium-light to medium golden yellow; attractive, forward, toasty, nutty, baked apple aroma with a touch of lemon custard and a floral note hinting of ginger; full body; plush, toasty, citrus and baked apple flavors with a slightly creamy mouthfeel; lingering aftertaste. Highly recommended. 14.9% alcohol; 22,129 cases; 100% Chardonnay; 100% BF; 100% ML; released December 2009. (My Score: 89)" (CGV)

"Beringer’s Private Reserve program, hands down, makes some of the best wines coming out of Napa, and they do it at reasonable prices. In January 2008 Beringer’s head winemaker, Ed Sbragia, transitioned to a consultant role leaving his protégé, Laurie Hook in charge. If the 2008 vintage of the Chardonnay is any indication, she is doing a fantastic job because this is by far the best 2008 Chardonnay I’ve tasted.

I try to feature wines that are perennial values and Beringer’s Private Reserve Chardonnay (and Cabernet for that matter) is another one of those wines. A blend from multiple Napa vineyards, it’s rich and buttery with a unique smoky nose. An oily mouthfeel is complemented by crisp citric acid and an exceptional finish. To my taste, this is the best Chardonnay under $30 and I haven’t had a better example under $50 in recent memory.

This past week I had the pleasure of dining at Gramercy Tavern in New York. I brought a 1999 Broman Cabernet and a 2003 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet. I really wish I had brought this Chardonnay instead of the Broman (which is a great wine), because it would have been perfect for the seafood-heavy early courses and likely would have blown away any of the $100 bottles of California Chardonnay on their menu. Plus it’s always fun to try multiple varietals from the same winery.

This has been a write up of the 2008 vintage of Beringer’s Private Reserve Chardonnay but it could have been of any vintage. I’m sure the 2009 will be just as good, if not better. This wine usually sells for well over $30 so $27.95 is a heck of a deal." (Nickel & Dime)

Winery Notes:
A blend of Beringer’s northernmost Chardonnay vineyards – this chardonnay is a mixture of the most expressive lots and blended to create an intensely aromatic and flavorful wine featuring citrus, tropical notes of fresh pineapple and mango, crème brulée, brown spice and butterscotch that come together for a seamlessly long, plush finish. This wine is truly the chardonnay lover’s chardonnay!