Tag: red wine

Benziger 2015 Bella Luna Pinot Noir

Being a biodynamic wine producer is not easy. There’s so much detail that goes into both the farming practices and the winemaking methods. So for a family like the Benzigers who have their fingertips in vineyard locations throughout the Sonoma region, the ability to maintain that integrity, those high standards, is admirable.

From the winery:

“On the far East side of the Russian River Valley, just on the border of the Green Valley AVA lies Bella Luna, one of our four Estate Biodynamic vineyards. Bella Luna is planted with 100% Pinot Noir vines, and with its rolling hills, surrounding pine trees and bright, clear nights, it’s no wonder that we named this special place ‘Bella Luna’ which means ‘Beautiful Moon.'”

About the Wine: The Benziger 2015 Bella Luna Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the Benzigers’ estate vineyard, Bella Luna. The 9-acre vineyard is planted completely to Pinot Noir, clones 115, 667, and 777, and enjoys Goldridge and fine sandy loam soils.

Bella Luna is Demeter certified biodynamic.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Pop the cork of the Benziger 2015 Bella Luna Pinot Noirand find decadent aromas of chocolate and black cherry jam. This Pinot Noir is a vampiric red on the pour, settling into the glass a clear jewel-like red-violet that fades to an almost pink hue along the perimeter. Initial aromas are of cranberry, pomegranate, milk chocolate, and thyme. Swirl and find the juiciness, the roundness, the freshness, of those scents.

The palate of the Benziger 2015 Bella Luna Pinot Noir is light, but full, round. The oak is present on the palate and the acid hits about ¾ of the way through, waking up the tastebuds before a slightly tannic, drying finish. Dominant flavors are of oak wood, vanilla bean, red cherry, pomegranate, cranberry, and a bit of basil.

Food Pairing: I paired the Benziger 2015 Bella Luna Pinot Noir with an herb crusted rack of lamb, pea puree, and a side salad. Well, I must say this was a fantastic meal with a fantastic wine. So much so that I did not take any specific wine notes during the course of the meal. But what I can say is that the vivacity of the meal perfectly contrasted the heartiness and richness of the lamb, while simultaneously complimenting the herb components in both the puree and the salad.

More Info: I received the Benziger 2015 de Coelo Pinot Noir, Terra Neuma Pinot Noir as a sample for review. Price: $75. For more information about Benziger, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Benziger Family Winery website.


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Benziger 2015 de Coelo Pinot Noir, Terra Neuma

I love everything I’ve tasted from Benziger. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re all biodynamic, which means extra time and attention both in the vineyard and in the winery, ensuring that all wines are as natural as possible. Or maybe it’s because despite their popularity (or maybe because of it), they continue to do small lot specialty bottlings that show that family-run is family-run no matter how big or small the business, taking pride in their name, their land, their products. 

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Gary Farrell 2016 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir

Gary Farrell is a Sonoma classic, no? I know fellow wine lovers—from casual consumers to expert somms—all rave constantly about Gary Farrell. I’m not going to lie, it took me some time to actually taste from the famed estate, but was lucky enough to find it on a menu not too long ago. (I believe it was my birthday actually.)

Since then, I’ve understood what all the raving is about. Solidly structured, with all its rocky river rusticity elegantly balanced with the ripe red fruit flavors known to the region. Russian River Valley does Pinot Noir right and Gary Farrell expresses this so eloquently.

This is a blend of several different vineyards throughout the AVA. And after having tasted this, I’m so curious to taste the winery’s single vineyard expressions. Especially since it sources from some very prestigious vineyards….
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Scheid Vineyards 2016 Doctor’s Vineyards Pinot Noir

This was my first experience with Scheid Vineyards—a winery I’ve heard a lot about and isn’t far from my home base. When I had the opportunity to interview Dave Nagengast, director of winemaking for Scheid, for an article in Wines & Vines December/January Collector’s Edition, I was intrigued by the innovative spirit of the winey, and my interest piqued even further. Luckily (and completely coincidentally), I was contacted by the winery’s PR rep about sampling the wines. That would be an enthusiastic yes…

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Goldeneye 2015 Pinot Noir

If you’ve been reading along all week, then you’ve noticed that each day I’ve featured a separate single-vineyard, single-varietal Pinot Noir from Goldeneye. And if you haven’t, I strongly recommend reading about the winery’s The Narrows, Split Rail, Confluence, and Gowan Vineyards before moving on to this review. This Pinot Noir is simply entitled “Anderson Valley.”

Goldeneye winery was established in 1996 by the proprietors of Duckhorn Vineyards, Dan and Margaret. While Duckhorn stakes its claim on Bordeaux varieties grown in Napa, The Goldeneye label is all about Anderson Valley’s claim to fame: Pinot Noir. Cool climate, marine influence—yes and yes. But the area has such varied topography and diverse soils that each vineyard really does have something different to say, each Pinot Noir wine markedly special.

Well this “Anderson Valley” Pinot Noir is a blend of the various Goldeneye Anderson Valley estate vineyards. Tasting them separately and then as a blend was a fun kind of tasting experiment for me. And I just have to add that this is not the case of “left over” Pinot Noir blended away. No, this is the case of what makes a winemaker a winemaker—mastering the art of the blend.

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