Beringer Vineyards 2006 Bancroft Ranch Howell Mountain Merlot
Regular Retail Price:
The Wine Spies One Day Price:
California: Howell Mountain (Napa)
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Mission Codename: The 1800
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to wine colossus Beringer Vineyards and return with another of their excellent and exclusive limited-production wines
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Beringer Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Bancroft Ranch Vineyard Howell Mountain Merlot
Winemaker: Laurie Hook
Backgrounder: Merlot, one of the primary grape varietals from Bordeaux finds an exceptional home in the Napa Valley. The Howell Mountain sub-appellation is among the most famous of names in the valley and is primarily know for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and the other big Bordeaux varietals like Merlot. Today’s remarkable Merlot hails from the Bancroft Ranch Vineyard, which sits at 1800’ elevation, on the western slopes of Howell Mountain. At today’s price, this wine is a remarkable value.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest garnet, with a dense and darker core. Color is evenly maintained, from the core of the wine, right out to its fine red edges. When swirled, skinny clusters of tall, wine-stained tears move very slowly down the glass.
Smell – Bold and lush and loaded with dark fruit and wonderful spice. Blackberry, black cherry and cassis just leap from the glass to greet you on the nose. These are followed, closely, by braised plum, seared mission fig, cigar box, leather and brown spice. Just beneath these, hints of mint, black pepper and earthy mushroom round out the aromas.
Feel – Soft and slightly round on the attack. As the wine passes the mid-palate, it settles in and then coats the entire palate. Soft, ripe tannins and a fine acidity provide great structure and the perfect framing for the lush fruit.
Taste – Ripe, dark and very flavorful, this wine initially offers up ripe blackberry and black cherry, with a hint of smoky sweetwood. These are closely followed by plum, bramble, black tea leaf, leather and hints of caramel, lavender and black pepper. At the very end, dried black rose petal makes a long and mineral-laced appearance.
Finish – Long and full-flavored, black and red fruit slowly yield to earthy flavors, spice and creme brullee. Mineral and dried black flower petals persist, long after the fruit fades, drying the palate, slightly.
Conclusion – Elegant, delicious and filled with flavor, today’s 2009 Beringer Bancroft Ranch Howell Mountain Merlot is one of the finest Merlot we have tasted in some time. Decant for at least 30 minutes for best results – and you’ll find the treasures that are buried within this initially shy wine. When it does open up, it really springs to life, driving deep aromatics and really terrific fruit flavors. Once opened up, this is a wine that you can smell long before you lift it to your nose. And, it is one that you can smell for a long time before you even take your first sip. Rich and concentrated, on the palate, this delicious wine is an obvious companion for a great meal. Pair with your favorite meat pasta or a herb-roasted chicken. Enjoy this wine now, but be sure to cellar a few bottles for the next 5 to 7 years.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Beringer Vineyards as well as their tasting room can be seen in this satellite photo.