CG 91 | RP 95 | WE 90 | W&S 92 | V 93
Generally cool temperatures continued through most of the summer, resulting in well-developed flavors in the fruit. Aromas of cassis, black cherry, cedar and dark chocolate transition to rich expressions of black fruit, vanilla and brown spices on the palate as ripe supple tannins linger throughout the extracted and long finish.
The Wine Advocate - "Put them all together and you have the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve, a sensational 14,000-case cuvee that is one of the benchmarks for what Napa Valley is capable of achieving. Its dense purple color is followed by copious notes of smoky barbecue, creme de cassis, white chocolate, blackberries, charcoal and truffles. Full-bodied, fleshy and succulent, with sweet tannins in the finish, this 2002 has not yet hit full maturity. Give it another 2-4 years of cellaring, and drink it over the following two decades. I asked the winemaking team what the final blend was for the 2002 Private Reserve, and to the best of their recollection, the largest component was from Steinhauer Ranch (50%), followed by St. Helena Home Ranch (23%) and tiny percentages of Bancroft, Rancho del Oso, Chabot, Marston, and some Cabernet Franc from Howell Mountain."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Good deep red. Very ripe, slightly roasted aromas of sweet fruit pastry and coffee liqueur. Huge and sweet if still a bit monolithic, with a wave of plush berry fruit washing over the palate. Finishes with substantial granular tannins and serious palate-staining length. This wine appears to be going through a closed stage today and still needs time in the cellar. Rating: 93(+?) Points"
Wine & Spirits - "Ed Sbragia blends this wine from a selection of vineyards primarily on Howell Mountain and closer to the winery in St. Helena. On their own, these vineyards produce distinctive and ageworthy cabernets; Sbragia's selections of Chabot, Marston and Bancroft are among the top wines in the valley. The Private Reserve often blends away some of those distinctions, emphasizing winemaking style instead. To me, it often tastes like a well-heeled wine, glossy and easy to appreciate. This vintage goes beyond those straightforward charms. It starts off warm and fat, with spicy red berry flavors and a touch of bitterness in the tannin, then air begins to meld the fruit and structure, bringing complexity and a meaty richness. Check on it in ten years."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "Here is a big, beautifully ripened, definitively varietal that is brimming with deep, well-extracted fruit and decked out with a full measure of very sweet oak. Its precise focus and its wholly impeccable balance place it at the forefront of the pack, and it never once hints at heaviness or heat. While fairly tannic, it is not in the least tough, and its essential juiciness perseveres to the end. Those with a taste for young Cabernet will find lots to like even now, but the real beauty of this compelling wine will only emerge with five years of time."
Wine Enthusiast - "Huge wine, young and tannic, almost bitter now and not offering much relief. But of course you don’t buy Beringer PR tonight. There is indeed enormous Cabernet flavor deep down inside, offering oodles of blackberries and cherries and charry new oak, but there’s also a warning note of prune."