Late last year when I was in San Francisco, together with friends we made a day trip to the Napa Valley wine region. It turned out to be a wet rainy day but as plans had been made, we proceeded with the trip. Armed with umbrellas and boots, we took on the overcast weather and set out.
The Rhine House in Beringer Vineyard is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places
The gloomy weather cast a dull greyness on the rolling hills and vineyards but we managed to visit several vineyards. One of the more renowned ones was the Beringer vineyard. As one of the oldest wineries in the Napa Valley, Beringer is known for many “firsts” in the wine industry – check this link for those “firsts”. What’s most meaningful is that they are the first and only winery to have both a red and white wine named #1 Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator Magazine.
So, having visited the winery in Napa and tasted some of their wines there, I was pretty chuffed recently to receive an invitation to a wine lunch with Mark Beringer, Chief Winemaker of Beringer Vineyards! Mark Beringer is the great-great-grandson of Beringer Vineyards’ founder, Jacob Beringer. As a direct descendant of Beringer’s first winemaker, it’s hardly surprising that Mark has been immersed in wine-making all his life.
Mark Beringer, Chief Winemaker of Beringer Vineyards
Mark was in town as part of his SEA tour to Beringer’s key markets (Singapore, Thailand & Indonesia) on a campaign with the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor. This campaign, launched in early 2017 has already reached out to millions across Southeast Asia to make travel planning much more enjoyable and social over a glass or two of Beringer! It’s all about getting people to plan their holidays in an enjoyable gathering with their favourite Beringer wines.
The chic Restaurant Nizza, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur
At the intimate lunch at Restaurant Nizza, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur, with just a few other media members, Mark took us through the history of Beringer and explained their steadfast wine-making traditions which have resulted in globally-recognised winning wines. It also has something to do with their brand positioning of Beringer as “The Spirit of American Optimism”, speaking much for the vineyard as California’s longest continuously operated winery.
So, we got ample tastings of some of Beringer’s internationally lauded wine ranges. Starting with their Founder’s Estate wines, we had the Sauvignon Blanc to go with our Nicoise Salad. This varietal’s light fruity notes from refreshing grapefruit, ripe stone fruit and white fig were very appealing and perfect to go with the seared tuna in our salad. From this range, we also tried the Merlot, a delightfully approachable wine with hints of plum, berries and a touch of brown spice.
Next, we moved on to Beringer Regional Estates’ range – the 2014 Napa Valley Chardonnay and the 2013 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This Chardonnay, together with the Private Reserve Chardonnay, were my favourite as I love my whites. This particular vintage came from a bountiful crop grown on the valley floor of their Big Ranch and Stanly vineyards. The crisp natural acidity layered with hints of citrus and green apples make this refreshing white so easy to drink and pairs well with any kind of seafood.
The Beringer Private Reserve is the pinnacle of their portfolio and this single-vineyard Chardonnay is regarded as a benchmark since its first vintage in 1978. Fermented in French oak barrels and skilfully blended, this richly flavoured wine breathed lingering aromas of crème brulèe and rich fruity flavours of grilled pineapples and ripe pears.
Equally impressive was the 2012 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a masterful blend of various appellations from different vineyards. After carefully aging the wines in custom-toasted barrels of new French Nevers oak for 18 months, the final blends were selected. This Cabernet Sauvignon has complex layers of black fruit, notes of cocoa powder, graphite and light smokey oak – a unique blend which satisfies the discerning. I found this paired beautifully with my main course of Woodfire-roasted Angus Ribeye.
Woodfire Roasted Angus Beef Ribeye – mixed mushroom fricasse, Sigar Hills cherry tomatoes and dauphinoise potatoes
In Peninsula Malaysia, Beringer wines are distributed by Luen Heng F&B Sdn Bhd. More information is available on their website: www.luenheng.com