Pinot Paragon with Benziger Family Winery

Hello Friends,

Last week I had the pleasure of joining my fellow wine bloggers for Benziger Family Winery's virtual “Pinot Paragon” wine tasting. Benziger Family Winery is located in Glen Ellen, CA, and specializes in small-production, certified sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines. The tasting featured a live video broadcast with winemaker Rodrigo Soto who has nurtured the Pinot Noir program at Benziger for several years now. Having listened to Rodrigo during a previous tasting, I must say, the guy exudes pure passion for his work and adopts a non-interventionist approach to winemaking. We had the opportunity to taste four Pinot Noir wines that showcased the unique personality and characteristics of four distinct single-vineyard sites. These wines were sourced from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast – two cool-climate regions where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive. Our tasting focused on the 2009 vintage, which consisted of moderate to cool temperatures with a few late summer heat spikes. Of the four wine tasted, the 2009 Signaterra San Remo was fullest in body and showed some oomph. The other three flirted with delicacy and finesse, were well-balanced and had good, food-friendly acidity. With Pinot Noir in particular, I find that you generally get what you pay for. These Pinot Noir wines delivered and are very nicely done and priced between $49 and $75. Some may call these special occasion wines --- but the special occasion in this case is when you remove the cork and enjoy the wine. See my tasting notes, price points, and links to the wines below. Cheers!

Pinot Paragon with Benziger Family Winery

2009 de Coelho Terra Neuma (SRP $75): This is a single-vineyard, bio-dynamically grown Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. The wine reflects the moderate-to-cool 2009 growing season. The nose offers inviting and complex aromas of bright red cherries and cranberry that comingle with berry/violet perfume notes and a pleasing mineral component. The palate shows restraint and delicacy with a slender frame, soft tannins, balanced acidity, and a smooth lingering finish. This wine clocks in at a low/moderate 13.0% ABV. I’m ready to hit the rewind button and revisit this wine with Thanksgiving dinner.

2009 de Coelho Quintas (SRP $75): This is a bio-dynamically farmed, single-vineyard wine from the Sonoma Coast that offers inviting cherry and raspberry scents with soft orange peel notes, floral perfume, and a hint of cola. The palate is medium-bodied with soft tannins, a smooth / lean texture, yet full-flavored and curvaceous ending with a nice lingering finish. (13.0% ABV)

2009 Signaterra Bella Luna (SRP $49): This is a certified and bio-dynamically grown single-vineyard Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. It’s lean and bright with a silky texture and vibrant red fruit that's complimented by complex lavender/floral notes with soft earthy undertones. A versatile food-friendly (lovely acid) wine that has me thinking about sautéed duck breast. (13.8% ABV)

2009 Signaterra San Remo (SRP $49): This is a single-vineyard certified sustainable Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The nose offers inviting and rich red fruit scents with spice notes and a touch of sweet perfume. The palate is medium (leaning full) bodied with smooth tannins, a round mouth-feel, and a nice balance between ripeness, acidity, and structure. A nice moderately complex sipping wine that’s also quite versatile and food-friendly. (14.5% ABV)

To visit the Benziger Family Winery website click here.

Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.

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