TasteLive.com with Benziger Family Winery

Hello Friends,

Last week I was pleased to be selected as a panelist for the launch of Benziger Family Winery’s TasteLive channel. The kick-off event included a virtual discussion with proprietor and wine grower Mike Benziger, that was led by host Jessica LaBounty via UStream. Mike also wears the moniker, “Biodynamic Guru," which would be the basis of the evening’s tasting and discussion. For the wines, we had the opportunity to sample six of Benziger biodynamic estate wines and conduct vintage comparisons on two sets of red wine blends. Biodynamic wine-making takes sustainable and organic farming to the next level. Unlike conventional farming, which uses pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals; biodynamic farming strives to keep in check an agreeable and natural balance between man and nature, with man at the helm of this spiritual and holistic endeavor. In the wine-making facility, a non-interventionist approach is taken to craft wines that express a sense of place and the growing season.

TasteLive.com with Benziger Family Winery

Instead of going into biodynamic prep detail such as cow manure and cow horns, Mike shared his thoughts on biodynamic farming and its positive effect on Benziger's four estate vineyards. For example, the transition to biodynamic farming influenced what was over 52 acres of vine plantings to be reduced to 35 acres. This is because some of the land was not well suited for farming wine grapes and biodynamics exposed this. The trade-off was a significant reduction in quantity, but a healthy and balanced vineyard and a significant increase in wine quality. Instead of me repeating what was said, I strongly suggest watching the video segments. After reviewing the video clip below, click on the following links in the order provided: ‘2006 and 2007 Oonapais Sonoma Mountain Red Tasting’, ‘2007 and 2008 Obsidian Point Tasting, and ‘2007 Tribute Tasting’. Of the questions I submitted, the response to “Can biodynamic farming compromise wine quality?” produced a very informative response that you will want to hear for yourself. The biodynamic estate wines we tasted are limited production and only sold via the tasting room and website and are very much worth seeking out. See my tweets on the six wines below the video box. As a final thought, I leave you with this quote from Mike Benziger: “It’s a life’s work to make a wine that is ultimately connected with a place and the people who farm it.” Cheers!

Benziger Family Winery Biodynamic USTREAM Broadcast

Live video by Ustream

2008 Joaquin's Inferno (73% Zinfandel, 27% Petite Sirah): Ripe blue berry, sweet spice, and plum, rich mouth feel, lasting finish, the Petite Sirah provides a nice punch.

2006 Oonapais Red (58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 11 Petit Verdot): Rich berry fruit, cinnamon toast, barrel spice, very subtle herbal notes, integrated tannins, round mouth-feel, supple texture, firm, well-balanced structure.

2007 Oonapais Red (63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 1% Zinfandel): Dark fruit-spice flavors, hints of coffee bean, hazelnut and sage/basil, nice firm spine, bold, yet tame and rounded tannins, nice spice-driven lingering finish.

2007 Oonapais Point Red (49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 19% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot): Anise, violets, cassis and dark cherry aromas, firm tannins and oak undercurrents, solid structure – begs for red meat!

2008 Oonapais Point Red (90% Cabernet Sauvignon based blend): Rich and smooth w/ ripe plum, cherry and savory flavors. Creamy textured and sipping nicely!

2007 Tribute (84% Cabernet Sauvignon based blend): Tribute wine to Mike’s parents who worked very hard to get the winery established. The 2000 vintage was the first biodynamic wine produced in Napa/Sonoma. Inviting blackberry, plum, and black currant aromas, ripe tannins, good acid balance, and a young, yet mature wine. Simply delicious.

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

CLICK HERE to visit Benziger Family Winery website.

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