Benovia’s Open House Saturday was highly anticipated and well attended – but that would be expected. Benovia has consistently produced excellent wines and Spring was in the air.
Benovia is at the end of Hartman Road (West of Santa Rosa) in the Russian River Valley. It is an elegant setting that helps you appreciate the wine and this event even more.
Joe Anderson (owner) and Mike Sullivan (winemaker) were pouring wines along with a crew of family and staff. This is always a very friendly and well organized event. When you entered you were handed a glass of 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir. This Rosé has cranberry / watermelon aromas supported by bright acidity and a tart cherry finish. This will be a great summer wine and drinkable right away.
The Chardonnays offered for tasting included the 2012 Ft. Ross-Seaview Chardonnay from the Martinelli vineyards, a wine that reflects its cool-climate origins with aromas of pears, and the 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, a complex blend from Benovia’s Martaella Estate Vineyard and grapes from a couple of small Russian River growers. I believe both of these will gain from little more time in the bottle. Historically, the RRV Chardonnays have done very well in competitions and I wouldn’t expect less from this textbook vintage.
The Pinot Noirs are the highlight for me. I paired them with Gerard’s Paella, a local favorite! Gerard’s blend of rice, vegetables, seasonings, sausage and chicken matched the wine beautifully.
Benovia was pouring their 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from their Martaella Estate Vineyard. 2012 was considered an excellent year for Pinot. This wine’s aroma is full red fruit, but tastes more dense and earthy. Benovia also poured their 2011 La Pommeraie Pinot Noir which vintage after vintage has been one of my brother’s favorite wines. The fruit is sourced from a Martinelli Family vineyard along Laguna Ridge at the edge of
the Green Valley AVA. The name pays homage to its apple orchard origins (La Pommeraie is French for apple orchard). This wine hints of blackberries and crisp acidity. Mike Sullivan indicated that Benovia chooses their clones thoughtfully to develop flavor and nuances that might not be in some other pinots. Benovia has a number of heritage clones as well. Their pinots reflect Mike’s thoughtfulness from the field to the bottle.
I believe that all of Benovia’s Pinot Noirs reflect their best potential with some aging. I highly recommend cellaring these wines for a year or so and then start tasting them again. Joe was also pouring a 2010 Savoy Pinot Noir (for friends) which reflected the merits of a little patience. This Anderson Valley wine is more earthy than its Sonoma County relatives and still could easily be cellared for a few more years.
Last but not least Benovia was pouring their 2011 Sonoma County Zinfandel. They dry-farm these Russian River Valley vines to produce small and compact clusters with incredible fruit intensity and bright acidity. Dry-farming is only one of the many sustainable practices employed at Benovia Winery. Read more about everything from Solar Panels to root-stock selection on their website and support farmers/vineyards that treat this wonderful place we live gently.
Everyone was enjoying the beautiful wines and the incredible setting. Here are a couple of pictures of guests relaxing and a little romance in the vineyards. It was a great day all around. If you would like to stop by an enjoy this incredible venue and their wonderful wines. Appointments are required. See their website for additional information. Tell Roger that Discover Sonoma County Wine sent you.