This wine typically starts life out as a young, tannic puppy, and although it has ripe flavors and a suppleness that can handle rich meats and cheeses, it's best to cellar it. This vintage is quite undeveloped, wrapped in tannic astringency, but with a hopeful core of fruit that should age well from 2008 on.
Soft, round fruit fills the mouth with ripe, juicy flavors. A long finish glides into flavors of ripe apples and lychee. A wine to be enjoyed alone, as an aperitif, or with shellfish, fowl, and light meals that include vegetarian dishes. The number of sunny days, combined with wide daily temperature variations and daily breezes blowing in opposite directions at sunrise and sunset-plus wonderful, sunny exposure of the hillside vineyards-result in Pinot Grigio grapes that have a unique balance of bouquet, flavors, crispness, sugars and acids.
Even in a $159 case, you’ve got to have a splurge red, for those welcome occasions that provide a perfect excuse to indulge in a very special wine. There aren't many California Cabernets that I would consider the equivalent of a Bordeaux classified growth, but Beaulieu Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon is one of them. It comes from the exact same vineyards as Andre Tchelistcheff's legendary Beaulieu George de Latour Reserve ($100), and tastes like it. It makes me feel like I'm drinking the best the world has to offer, and, in fact, I am.
Beringer's 2011 Chardonnay impresses for its balance and harmony. Another wine that punches above its weight, the Chardonnay is laced with bright citrus and floral notes, all in a focused, vibrant style that is incredibly appealing. The partial malo style gives the wine plenty of depth, while not overwhelming the sheer vibrancy of the aromas and flavors. This is another terrific value. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2014.
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve (9,000 cases produced) is a strong effort boasting a dense purple color as well as a big, sweet bouquet of licorice, chocolate, roasted herbs, sweet oak, and blue and black fruits. It's a classic, full-bodied Napa Cabernet with sweet tannin, decent acidity, and a long, heady finish.