Beringer Luminus Chardonnay
Meaning “light” in Latin, Luminus naturally represents the radiance of this Chardonnay. Like the brightness and purity that the name conjures, Chardonnay from the Oak Knoll district is known for its uncommon focus. The Chardonnay fruit from the Big Ranch Vineyard is known for its elegance and balance and Chief Winemaker Mark Beringer has always gravitated towards this acid-driven, food-friendly style of Chardonnay.
A lively freshness is the hallmark of Luminus, which leads with aromas of citrus and delicate white blossoms, giving way to flavors of lemon zest, butterscotch, hazelnut nougat, and nectarines, with white pear and a clove spice coming from the Hungarian oak influence. A rich, creamy mouthfeel resulting from bâttonage, hints of minerality and noticeable depth leave a lasting impression.
Luminus is a single vineyard Chardonnay from Big Ranch Vineyard, located in the Oak Knoll AVA. Located on the valley floor and at the southern end of the Napa Valley, Big Ranch is an ideal location for this style of Chardonnay owing to the heavy clay soils and cooling influence of the San Pablo Bay, preserving nice acidity and minerality in the grapes. A selection of Burgundian clones which show excellent early development provide an elegant complexity and fruit weight to the blend.
2018 was a near perfect season, welcomed after several tense vintages. It began with abundant February rains followed by drying sun and weather allowing for even flowering and bud break. A slightly later start was followed by consistently ideal weather, with harvest beginning in mid-September and continuing for a month with passes through the vineyard until mid-October. Generally normal to heavier fruit with great flavor and complexity were the hallmark of the season.
Each Chardonnay lot was kept separate throughout the aging process. After sending the fruit directly to press, the juice is fermented in neutral French oak barrels (14% new). A small amount, 15%, of the wine goes through secondary malolactic fermentation. The lees were stirred every other week to integrate the subtle oak notes and develop a polished texture. Winemaking is focused on showcasing the unique characteristics of Oak Knoll Chardonnay at the highest level, and achieved that with the final blend made after nine months of aging in barrels.
We really liked this and the 2017 vintages of this Chardonnay. There is a nice touch of vanilla in the finish, and an overall smooth character.
Find this at Harris Teeter, Kroger, Wegmans, and Winn-Dixie for less than $24.