Mission Codename Brightly Lit
Us spies are not keen on taking shots in the dark. That’s why our favorite pastime at the Headquarters is getting the tasting panel together to pop bottles and shed some light onto our targets, which in this case was finding the happiest Chardonnay with the best bang for the buck. As the name implies, Luminus really lit the way with this mission. Rombauer-esque in build while with just the right depth and complexity to be a seriously fine wine, it continued to please us from all angles. Things got really exciting when we heard back on the SPECIAL Wine Spies pricing for the day at 50% OFF folks, this could be the Napa Valley Chardonnay deal of the year!
Bright golden at first with platinum-sliver highlights dancing in pearlescent edges. Ripe lemon, apricots, Key lime pie, spring flowers, and a touch of popcorn butter are to be found on the attractive nose. Rich and viscous mouthfeel, with purity of extract, rounding buttery, hazelnut, and smoky nuances. Surprisingly long and vibrant on the spicy finish, this is truly ‘luminous’ with fruit as the name alludes. For a wholesome pairing experience, simply toss some fresh pasta in a creamy sauce with whatever shellfish or fish you fancy.
Robert Parker assures us of how fabulous a find this is; “Despite the enormity of this enterprise (multiple wineries and a global network), the flagship estate in northern California, Beringer Vineyards, continues to be in very capable winemaking hands, and the quality of the wines remains exceptionally impressive… These are all excellent wines… a 100% barrel-fermented, relatively new offering, the Chardonnay Luminus, is made from Dijon clones from the Oak Knoll appellation. A brilliant example of Chardonnay, it comes across as a first-growth Chassagne-Montrachet or Meursault.” …which, by the way, would cost like $200! At $19.99 this is a STEAL that just won’t last.
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
92 points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous - “Beringer’s Chardonnay Luminus is done in a relatively fresh style that emphasizes more citrus notes, with only a touch of new oak. Partially blocked malolactic fermentation keeps the flavors bright. Even with this more restrained approach, there is a good bit of weight and depth.”
92 points – James Suckling - “Attractive freshness and gently flinty citrus fruits. Aromas of melon and hazelnut nougat follow and lead to a palate with lemon, grapefruit, grilled peaches and nectarines. Layered and textural. Some pithy grip to close. This has attractive freshness and composure.”
91 points - Wine Spectator - “Outstanding! Rich and plush, this has plenty of buttery notes to the ripe apple, pear and dried ginger flavors. Creamy finish.”
What the Winery Says
2016 Distinction Series 'Luminus' Oak Knoll Chardonnay
- Mark Beringer
- Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley
- 100% Chardonnay
- 10 months in 45% new French oak