Ruby-red. Cherry, redcurrant, plum, lead pencil and loam on the nose. Almost magically sweet, deep and lush for the vintage, with spicy red fruit flavors framed by harmonious, ripe acids. At once gentle and gripping. Finishes very long, with big, sweet tannins. Beringer has a lot of fruit sources to draw from for its Private Reserve bottling, and as a result Sbragia has been able to transcend this difficult vintage with a wonderfully sweet, lush Cabernet.
This was one of the latest harvests ever in Napa Valley (because of very cold weather during both spring and summer), and the mountain vineyards took even longer to reach maturity. From the Tre Colline, Chabot and St. Helena Home vineyards as well as tiny components from the Bancroft Ranch and Marston Ranch sites, the 1998 Private Reserve is fully mature, but should keep for another 5-10 years. More French than Napa in style, this earthy, spicy, foresty, herbal-scented wine reveals sweet plum, cola, cedar and mint notes, a healthy dark plum/garnet color, a medium-bodied mouthfeel, and lots of mineral earthiness (a characteristic of this cooler year). (RP)
Good deep red. Aromatic, open-knit aromas and flavors of plum, mocha, spices and earth, plus just a hint of pyrazines. Supple and sweet but showing modest complexity. A round, approachable midweight that's not at all overly green for 1998. The dusty tannins turn a bit dry on the savory, slightly rigid finish. Beringer made a very small quantity of this wine in the difficult 1998 vintage, and it's distinctly lighter than the '97 bottling. (ST)
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