Another brilliant offering is the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve. It possesses a dense ruby/purple color along with terrific structure, lots of creme de cassis, minerality, beautiful purity of black currants and cherries, a judicious touch of oak, and a full-bodied, structural profile that is almost Bordeaux-like. This complete, rich and promising effort should be a 25-30-year wine.
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.