1986 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

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About the Wine

Beringer Winery in Napa Valley holds the distinction of numerous "firsts" as a pioneer in the region. It was one of the first gravity fed facilities and among the first to operate using hand-dug caves and cellars. It was the first to give public tours in 1934, starting a Napa Valley hospitality tradition. It is the first and only winery to have both a red and a white wine named #1 Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator Magazine.

The winery itself is a state historic landmark building. Beringer has had only eight winemakers in its history since 1868. Today, the winemaking is overseen by Mark Beringer, the great, great grandson of the founder. Beringer produces many wines, with a focus and specialty in Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines are sourced from top vineyards in Knights Valley, St. Helena, and Howell Mountain AVAs.

This particular wine was the #1 Wine of the Year in Wine Spectator magazine in 1990.


My gut feeling is that Beringer's superb 1986 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has turned out even better than their 1985. Perhaps it is just that the 1986 tastes more forward, but I also thought the super bouquet of this wine and the creamy, expansive, rich, full-bodied flavors had even more dimension than the wonderful 1985. It has a stunning bouquet of ripe, smoky, oaky, berry-scented fruit, extravagantly rich, luscious flavors, and super length. It would appear to have a more multi-dimensional character and a richer, fuller personality than the 1985. Pleasurable now, this gorgeously made Cabernet Sauvignon should continue to offer superlative drinking for another 10-12 years. Beringer continues to do everything right. Its staff of talented professionals may rank as the best in the business. Since 1984, its Private Reserve Cabernets have been among the top dozen Cabernets produced in California. This superior wine is not likely to stumble over the next several years. Beringer possesses some experimental batches of wine that are not likely to be released outside the winery. However, given the quality of such wines as their 1992 Pinot Blanc, 1992 Melon, 1992 Pinot Gris, 1992 Auxerrois, and 1992 Viogner, they are breaking new ground in California. Moreover, prices are reasonable. ~92 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate