Mission Codename Let the light shine
BERINGER. One of the best to ever do it, this historic winery has long set a standard for high-quality wine. In particular, Chardonnay.
Surely, you’ve had some before.
But we bet you’ve never seen this freshly released, 95-POINT beauty for our price. TWENTY-FIVE dollars for pure, shining Napa Chardonnay!?
Winemaker Mark Beringer wanted to create a bright, “luminous” example and give this wine the star treatment. He uses fruit from Burgundian clones grown in Big Ranch Vineyard in Oak Knoll AVA. It has a richness and ripe personality but NO malolactic, so it’s not a crazy butter-fest. It does see a modest 28% French oak, so it gets a little toasty influence and a creamy mouthfeel. Nothing crazy though.
This has the stuffing to please the Burglovers and just about any form of Chardonnay aficionado on either side of the spectrum. Luminous means “light” in Latin, but this isn’t some dainty, featherlight Chard. It has a medium body, and a full personality with all manner of spices, minerals, fruits, acid, and creamy goodness held in perfect balance. The pale golden pour gives way to notes of ginger, lemon meringue pie, cantaloupe, baked apple, and roasted, spiced nuts. It has tremendous minerality, too, with a flinty edge and lip-smacking acidity. Quite simply, it GOES OFF in all the good ways.
The stupendous value it is, the Luminous is long sold out at the winery. Wine Advocate points out that “aimed at being a stylistic counterpart to the richer, more opulent Private Reserve ($50+) style, it certainly does that…”
And all this for a price more aligned with half bottles… while it lasts, anyways.
95 Points – James Suckling
“Dried apple and peach with some flowers. Cooked apple, too. Full-bodied with a solid core of fruit and a compact, focused structure. Tight at the end. Shows intensity. One for the cellar. Drink or hold.”
What the Winery Says
2020 Distinction Series 'Luminus' Oak Knoll Chardonnay
- Mark Beringer
- 100% Chardonnay
- Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley
- Big Ranch Vineyard
- 8 months
- 100% French oak (28% new)