I opened a 2003 Benziger "Tribute" estate wine this weekend.
I was living in Nashville back in 2001 when a local wine store turned me on to Benziger Wines. Then in 2003 I took my first Napa Valley trip (while I'd say more about that, it could be 10 blog posts so I will save that for another time). On that trip I made a point to visit the Benziger Winery and from that point on it has been one of my favorite places to visit. I have found several wines from Benziger that I just love.
The whole winery is done as an organic operation without the use of pesticides and other chemicals. It is family owned and you can really get a sense that the people who work their truly appreciate wine and the Benziger Family. On the tour you get taken by tractor through the vineyards and get explanations of how they grow the grapes and harvest them. They take you through their large cave and show you how they have all there barrels stored. Outside the caves are their crushing and fermentation tanks as well as their bottling center.
We ended up in the reserve room after the tour and drank several of their wines for about an hour. The reserve rooms of any winery are their hidden gems. You must go and seek these rooms out because this is where you are going to find the wines that you will be drinking for many years to come.
On our next trip to Benziger is when we discovered their "Tribute" estate wine. I personally like very bold red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Bordeaux. The "Tribute" is in the Bordeaux style blend without the Petit Verdot added. It has the 4 other grapes in it and it is a perfect blend. I usually do not like blended Cabernet Sauvignon wines which use 2-3 grapes varieties but there's something about addin the 4th or 5th grape variety that makes it truly special. All the grapes from their "Tribute" are harvested from the same region and vineyard. I love that the "Tribute" is very bold without any tannins.
If you go out to Napa or Sonoma you must go to Benziger, tour their property and indulge in the reserve tasting room. I am a member of their wine club so I get shipments sent to me every other month - a good portion of my wine cellar is now filled with their wine.
Here is a link to the Benziger Winery
Here is a link to the 2006 "Tribute"
Unfortunately I think "Tribute" can only be purchased at the winery or if you happen to live in one of the lucky states to which you can have wine shipped to you directly. Georgia finally can get wine shipped now but we still can't buy wine or beer on Sunday. We will not open that can of worms now because it's a sore spot with me.