Beringer's 2013 Chardonnay Private Reserve emerges from Gamble Ranch in Oakville. Classy, polished and restrained, the 2013 is absolutely superb. Above all else, the 2013 is a wine of finesse. Hints of pastry, baked apple and spices are woven into the super-expressive, oily finish. This was my first tasting at Beringer following Laurie Hook's move into the role of Winemaker Emeritus. Mark Beringer, the great-great grandson of founder Jacob Beringer, is the newly arrived Chief Winemaker. These are all Laurie Hook's wines, though. Needless to say, it will be fascinating to see what Beringer does with this extensive range. One of the first developments has been the introduction of wood fermentation vats for the 2015 harvest. (AG)
Complex and layered, exhibiting a mix of ripe peach, pear, honeydew and citrus flavors, shaded by a light toasty oak presence and ending with a slightly raw, pithy finish. (JL)
Even the 2013 Chardonnay Private Reserve has a much more restrained hand with the oak. Aged nine months in 80% new French oak, the wine is much more subtle, offering notes of lemon meringue pie, tropical pineapple, citrus oil and apple blossom. It is medium to full-bodied, refreshing and delicately oaked, which may be a first. (RP)
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