This distinctive dessert wine is crafted by Chief Winemaker Mark Beringer in honor of Myron Nightingale, who served as Beringer Vineyards winemaker from 1971 to 1984. Myron and his wife, Alice, spent three decades developing the techniques resulting in this botrytised wine in the style of classic French Sauternes. Produced only in select years, and in extremely limited quantities, the Nightingale is a labor of love that delights wine lovers the world over.
“An easy, medium-sweet white with hints of sliced lemons, lemon rind and apricots. Medium body. Flavorful finish. Sauvignon blanc and semillon. Drink or hold.” - James Suckling,February 2020
It would be easy to simply enjoy the enticing aromas of jasmine, citrus blossom and clover based honey, but that would mean missing an unctuous treat that tastes of preserved Meyer lemon, burnt caramel and honey, with further aromas and flavors of apricot, melon framed with touches of spice. Full and rich, it will serve well as a closing aperitif on its own or as a spectacular companion to a cheese course or crème brûlée.
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended season helped to balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors.
The Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes for this wine were grown in Beringer’s Bale Lane Vineyard in the northern end of Napa Valley. Bale Lane has a steady warm, sunny climate, excellent for achieving round, full fruit flavors in both varieties. A vertical trellising system is used in this vineyard to ensure the vines receive optimal sun and air exposure.
The Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes were picked fully ripe, at an average of 36.5 degrees Brix. In this vintage, noble rot occurred naturally in the vineyard, and we followed the traditional method of allowing the fruit to gain intensity and complexity on the vine before harvesting for a long, slow fermention. After approximately 14 days, with the Brix averaging 30 degrees, the grapes were gently pressed and the juice was racked into French oak barrels for fermentation and aging for 22 months. The Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc lots were kept separate throughout the aging process, and blended before bottling.
Mark Beringer, great-great-grandson of Beringer Vineyards' founding brother Jacob Beringer, was immersed in wine from the moment he was born in the heart of the Napa Valley. As the direct descendant to Beringer's first winemaker and one of the most iconic family names in Napa Valley wine history, he knew from a young age that he would follow in the footsteps of his ancestors. As a young man he spent many hours working in his family's wine store in Saint Helena, expanding his knowledge of wine as well as gaining an appreciation for wines outside of the famous region he has always called home.
|Oak Treatment||22 months in 100% French Oak (50% new)|
|Blend||55% Sémillon,45% Sauvignon Blanc|