Aromas and flavors are of citrus, apple and accents of toasted oak. In the mouth this wine is bright and crisp with forward citrus and subtle grassiness. Best enjoyed now or over the next year. This wine is wonderful as a warm weather aperitif or paired with light, fresh salads, pastas or seafood.
Vintage 2000 began with the warmest winter on record, which gave way to a very warm spring punctuated by a record heat spell in mid June. The warm weather moved us two to three weeks ahead of schedule. A more temperate summer followed, allowing the grapes to ripen evenly. Harvest began three weeks ahead of "normal". Sauvignon Blanc was harvested from 8/24 - 9/12 and we were very pleased with the excellent quality and yields of 2000. Press cuts were taken to keep the pH low and ensure a crisp wine.
The grapes for this wine grew on four-to-24-year-old vines selected from 12 blocks in nine vineyards. All lots were tank fermented in stainless steel. None of the wines underwent malolactic fermentation, and 90% of the final blend was aged for three months on French oak. The special care that encouraged the perfect fruit/acid balance in the vineyard was also taken in the cellar to ensure the same balance in the bottle. The wine was bottled in March 2001. Alcohol: 13.5%, total acidity: .56, pH: 3.43, residual sugar: dry. 28,810 cases produced.
Benziger Family Winery
The Benziger Family Winery was founded in 1980 on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain. Their Reserve wines showcase those rare lots discovered in the vineyard or developed in the cellar that receive the highest level of care and emerge as the best of the vintage. Benziger also produces Benziger Family wine and the limited production Vineyard Designate wines. At the core of Benziger Winery are eight, same generation family members committed to managing every aspect of grape growing and winemaking.
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Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.