Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
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This wine is still young and precocious, but don't judge it too quickly. Let it air in your glass, and watch how it changes. One minute it's all cherries and smoke; the next it heaves up a great draught of currants, cocoa and cedar. It's a big wine but deceptive; the tannins are airy and lilting, there's charm and underneath, enormous complexity. It's best left alone for a few more years, but it's really very lovely now.
The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve reveals more concentration as well as higher tannin than the 1995. I know it is a trade-off, but I suspect this vintage will not be as sexy in its youthfulness as the 1995. The black ruby/purple-colored 1996 offers more licorice, in addition to the obvious levels of pain grille, jammy black currant fruit, and spice notes. Structured, full-bodied, and powerful, this may be a Private Reserve to cellar for several years, and consume over the subsequent 15-18.
This is an outstanding wine, ripe and intense, with firm layers of earthy currant, anise, black cherry and plummy flavors framed by tight tannins and spicy, cedary oak notes. Best from 2002 through 2010. 14,000 cases made.