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 warm afternoons. Older vines featuring the Wente Clone 4 are dominant in this wine.
The 2018 vintage provided a near perfect season, welcomed after several tense vintages. 2018 began with abundant February rains followed by drying sun and weather that allowed for even flowering and bud break. The slightly later start was followed by consistently ideal weather, with harvest for the white wines began in early September. Generally normal to heavier fruit with great flavor and complexity will be the hallmark of the 2018 season. Vines were vigorous thanks to the winter rains. Most late-ripening red grapes continued to hang on the vine and were picked throughout October.
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 100 % French oak barrels for 10 months 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 ten 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.