The 2016 growing season in the Napa Valley was a beautiful one marked by pleasant weather with no real issues from heat spikes or rain. A dry winter followed by a dry and early spring meant an early bud break. Weather was warm throughout late spring and summer which allowed for great development in the grapes. Harvest began in August, and the overall quality and depth of flavor of the fruit was outstanding for the vintage.
"The 2016 Chardonnay Private Reserve opens with peaches and cream notes and suggestions of cedar box, pink grapefruit and green mango with a touch of nutmeg. Medium to full-bodied with an appealingly oily texture, it delivers mouth-filling tropical fruit and oak flavors, finishing with great persistence." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Each Chardonnay lot is kept separate throughout the aging process for this flagship wine. After sending the fruit directly to press, the juice is fermented in French oak barrels (40% new) to enhance the natural richness in the wine. Weekly lees stirring enhanced the toasty notes and integrated the oak flavors for an overall balance. The wine is barrel fermented, and all the wine was put through malolactic fermentation to encourage a lush creaminess. After eight months aging, the most expressive lots are chosen and blended to create a richly layered wine with aromas of crème brûlée and rich citrus and fruit flavors.
Gamble Ranch, the source for Private Reserve, is Beringer's northernmost Chardonnay vineyard. The vineyard, located near the town of Yountville, in the Oakville AVA, sees daytime temperatures slowly climb as the cooling morning fog recedes south to San Pablo Bay. This significant diurnal shift allows the grapes to maintain their acidity, which is essential to balancing the ripe, rich flavors as they develop during the warm afternoons.
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.