This is my first taste of Kathleen Inman’s wine and I have to say I am absolutely honored that she and her team sent this my way. Because of scheduling issues, I’ve had to turn down at least two invites to meet with the iconic vintner herself, which left me gutted. Well, this little pink surprise perked me right back up to day the least. A solid acidity that provides a hint of effervescence that just fizzes away on the tongue leaving a solid finish — without giving too much away here, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised at how structurally sound this rosé of Pinot Noir was; it’s a rosé varietal that’s proven a bit too fruity and fatty in the past. If you’ve had that experience, cast those aspersions aside. Kathleen knows what she’s doing and, what’s more, it’s a wine that’s important to her, as it has a bit of a personal story behind the name and label…
As I mentioned in my post about the Imagery Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, the “mission statement” — if you will — of Imagery is “California wine with a twist.” In the case of the Cab, there was a splash of Petite Sirah in the mix — and yet the wine was completely open palate, ready to drink straight out of the bottle. I was pleasantly surprised. But for some reason, there was something holding me back about opening the Chardonnay. There’s a misconception about Chardonnay, that it’s an easy to grow and easy to make wine. Not so. Although it can grow in various regions, there are actually ideal conditions for the white grape. And the resulting wines, well, that’s utterly in the hands of the winemaker — it really is like their play-doh. (Read more about Chardonnay here.) So, I guess my hesitation was — what was this twist and was it going to be an overworked Chardonnay? Nope, not so. Imagery Estate keeps both the wine and the Benziger reputation crisp and clean….
Imagery Estate Winery was a new one for me. It’s the “sister” winery to the well-known Benziger Family Winery — but I’m going to go ahead and call it the “daughter” winery because, as I understand it, it’s Joe’s daughter Jamie who’s at the helm of the Imagery winemaking. What the two craft together is California wine with a twist: traditional varietals with “something unexpected, something out of the ordinary, something very Imagery.” So who’s ready for a little Cab-adventure?
Benziger has a long-standing family reputation in Sonoma. The family made the migration to California’s northern wine country when it was still had its “wild west” status and together groomed the land to make some top quality wines. Since 2000, all four of Benziger’s estate vineyards have been officially certified Biodynamic, meaning they’ve eliminated the use of all synthetic materials, encourage biodiversity in the field, and nurture a closed nutrient system. The effects? Well let’s have a taste and see, shall we?
The minute you think Iron Horse, you immediately think sparkling wine. Tell someone that’s what you’re sipping, and they know you’ve got quality bubbles in the glass. But the winery is more than a big Napa name: they give back to the community — in this case the ocean community. Four dollars of every bottle of Iron Horse Vineyards 2014 Ocean Reserve goes toward the National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative, establishing marine protected areas and supporting sustainable fishing practices around the globe.
I hope this isn’t untoward — but I did pair this wine with a (sustainable) fish dish!