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Meaning “light” in Latin, Luminus naturally represents the radiance of this Chardonnay. Like the brightness and purity that the name conjures, Chardonnay from the Oak Knoll district is known for its uncommon focus. The Chardonnay fruit from the Big Ranch Vineyard is known for its elegance and balance and Chief Winemaker Mark Beringer has always gravitated towards this acid-driven, food-friendly style of Chardonnay.
The 2016 Luminus offers generous aromas showcasing bright lemon citrus characteristics and a core of minerality. The wine is rich with robust and balanced acidity making the lemon zest and toasted hazelnut flavors pop on the palate. The wine is silky with an elegant texture and long finish.
Luminus is a single-vineyard Chardonnay from Beringer’s Big Ranch Vineyard in the Oak Knoll AVA. Located on the valley floor and at the southern end of the Napa Valley, Big Ranch is an ideal location for this style of Chardonnay owing to the cooling influence of the San Pablo Bay, preserving nice acidity and minerality in the grapes. A selection of Burgundian clones that showed excellent early development provide an elegant complexity and fruit weight to the blend.
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended season helped to balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors.
Each Chardonnay lot was kept separate throughout the aging process. After sending the fruit directly to press, the juice was fermented in seasoned French oak barrels (45 percent new). The lees were stirred every other week to integrate the subtle oak notes and develop a polished texture. Winemaking is focused on showcasing the unique characteristics of Oak Knoll Chardonnay at the highest level, and achieved that with the final blend made after 10 months of aging in barrels.