Phenomenon embodies the pinnacle of winemaking at Benessere! We endeavor to produce only quantities that are commensurate with the age of the vines and the quality of the vintage. After several years of production, we have come to know that Phenomenon is a wine that is age-worthy and substantial enough to pair with Steak Florentine, Beef Wellington and leg of lamb, yet elegant enough to enjoy on its own or with chocolate mousse torte. The distinct aromas of pure dark chocolate, blackberry jam and plum compote are complemented by flavors of black-cherry cola, mocha fudge, glove leather, picholine olives and pure vanilla. We make Phenomenon to enjoy on festive occasions, both humble and grand. It is the perfect wine to toast an engagement or anniversary as well as to enjoy at home watching "Casa Blanca" in black and white on your widescreen TV. It will age beautifully and gracefully for the next decade or more.
2005 was a vintage that allowed the best of the fruit to show through. After an early Budbreak and cool spring rains, the vintage progressed slowly and methodically with a resultant later harvest.
2006 BK Collins Old Vine Zinfandel
Our 2006 Old Vine Zinfandel possesses a deep ruby-purple color and a depth of aroma and flavor befitting the vintage. Black raspberry, plum jam, lavender and sandalwood are evident aromas. This Zinfandel is not a simple, fruit forward wine, but has elements of earth, ageworthy tannins, and a clean balanced elegance.
2006 Black Glass Zinfandel
Black Glass Zinfandel is know for its velvety textural characteristics and distinctive spicy cherry and raspberry jam that are pparent in the nose. True to form the 2006 follows in the footsteps of its' siblings, providing considerable depth and layers of black fruit, cinnamon and clove in the nose as well as on the palate. This wine aims to please on the dinner table, as a gift, or in your cellar.
This vintage allowed us to follow our normal path of gentle handling into our o pen-topped fermentors and hand-punching the skins into the juice. After 36 days on the skins, we pressed the wine into a combination of new, tight-grained American oak and once-used French oak barrels. Decanted once from the barrel, this wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered on April 7, 2008.
Great Sangiovese should possess many elements: beautiful deep-ruby color, fragrant aromatics and a soulful, food-friendly taste. We feel we have achieved this with out 2006 Estate Sangiovese. Plums, dried cherries, blackberry jam, and sandalwood are readily apparent in the nose. Depth of fruit, spice and a judicious amount of French oak are dominant components in the mouth. The clean core of acidity and lingering finish with substantial yet supple tannins are hallmarks of a wine that is available now, but will last for a decade or more. Pair our Sangiovese with dishes ranging from Portobello Risotto to Pork Loin and Duck (Petaluma) to Decadance (Chocolate). For any person who likes a medium-bodied, versatile wine, our Sangiovese is a "no-brainer." It is the Uma Thurman of red wines: slightly exotic, beautiful and seductive, yet able to impress family members or the chairman of the board equally with intelligence and class.
Benessere Sangiovese Napa Valley 1999
This wine is the big brother of the ’98 vintage. Typical for the ’99 vintage, it is well structured and powerful. It is darkly hued, and aromatically pure Sangiovese, with plum and violet. There are spicy clove and cinnamon notes, with a creamy vanillin. This wine is like Sean Connery: strong, suave, well bred and a great dinner companion!
The 1999 vintage had many of us worrying about an even later harvest than in 1998 due to the cool spring and mild summer. A balmy and warm September and October helped to push the grapes through to full maturity with a perfectly long “hang-time.” The crop size was down for the second year in a row, but quality was extremely high. This was the first crop we harvested from our Estate vineyards, and we were not disappointed. Our “first crop” was naturally limited in yield to less than 2 tons per acre and produced intensely flavored wine.
Benessere Sangiovese Napa Valley 1997
The 1997 vintage began with a flood on New Years Day! It is a vivid memory because I came out to the winery to rescue our dog, Chico, who had climbed the stairs to the catwalk to avoid the water. A dry early spring followed, which resulted in an early bud break. The following spring months provided for an excellent bloom and set of the fruit. The balance of the growing season was typified by warm, dry days, without morning fog, resulting in long ripening days. Harvest began early as a result of the weather. An abundant crop with extremely high quality was the payoff for the growers and winemakers.
2007 Muscat di Canelli Frizzante
"Frizzante" means sparkling in Italian. Our semi-sparkling Muscat wine is pleasantly light-bodied and slightly effervescent, combining bright fruit, crisp citrus and floral notes. It is perfect for sipping on a warm afternoon and should e served well-chilled and enjoyed while young and fresh. This extremely versatile wine can be opened before, during or after any delicious meal. Try it with a light spicy appetizer, Dungeness crab cakes, Asian dishes or for dessert, try dipping panettone sweet bread in it, or pair with fruit mousse, panna cotta or zabalione.
2007 Began early due to the dry weather and light crop. Without the cool spring and summer, harvest would have begun even earlier. Uncharacteristically for Napa Valley, the rain stopped after mid-March. A heat spike around Labor Day foretold that the vintage would follow rapidly. However, after this brief heat wave, the balance of the fall was unseasonably cool and harvest was extended through the end of October. This extension of hang-time allowed for full flavor development in our red varietals and leisurely picking and fermentation regimes.
2008 Pinot Grigio
The 2008 Pinot Grigio has a beautiful jasmine, honeysuckle nose with grapefruit zest and mineral notes. Additional characteristics of white peach, mango and flavors of freshly cut pineapple and apricot will be apparent. Fresh fruit characteristics give way to a smooth, mouth-coating finish. Benessere Pinot Grigio has a clean, crisp taste, which lends itself well to pairing with a range of foods from fresh brie and pecorino cheese and sourdough bread to crab-cakes, halibut and chicken breast sandwiches as well as tuna nicoise salads. It is the perfect wine for year-round enjoyment!
The 2008 Vintage produced a light yield of very high quality. Early winter rains gave way to the second "dry" year in a row, with rains ceasing in early March and a devasting frost that affected much of the Napa Valley. Unseasonably warm weather in May was followed by a cool down and some winds that caused a very uneven set of fruit. Mother Nature did most of the thinning for us in springtime with a resultant crop that was on average 25% less than "normal". The dry weather and light crop ripened early and harvest began and ended in a relatively brief, six week period. High flavor intensity from low yielding vines will make 2008 an excellent vintage.
2005 Estate Syrah
The 2005 Syrah is a complete wine. From the first toasty-smoky notes and the ripe blueberries and black currant jam to the final taste of smooth vanillin and wet earth, this wine will complement any meal or occasion. The dark ruby-purple color complements the deep, dark flavors and aromas that make this wine a great pair with rustic fare such as winter stew, Portobello-lamb ravioli, and dry jack cheese. It will age well for the next decade. Syrah has become a “go-to” grape for many parts of California. Our temperate climate and the adaptability of the grape make it a good choice to plant in many terroirs. When handled properly, it produces a wine that is deeply colored and is often full-bodied. Each clone was hand-picked, sorted and destemmed into small fermentation vessels. After a lengthy cold-soak, the wine was inoculated with a yeast isolated specifically for Syrah, and hand punched for 22 days. After a light pressing, it was placed in new American and once-used French barrels for an 18 month aging period. It was bottled on June 8th and received 5 months of bottle aging prior to release on November 12th, 2007.
2004 Estate Syrah
One of the greatest attributes of Syrah is color. Our 2004 Syrah is a vibrant opaque ruby-purple, with aromas of black fruits, smoke and sage. In addition to the blackberry fruit, there are hints of black tea, cured olives and roasted coffee beans. The flavors are full and rich, with blackberry compote, toasty oak, wild game and chocolate malt as the dominating components. This substantial wine will be an excellent guest at any dinner table with hearty fare such as barbecued ribs, roast duck and pecorino cheese. It will age well for the next decade.
Syrah has certainly found a home in California’s temperate climate. It is easy to grow in many areas and yields a wine with rich color and flavor. It produces a wine that is deeply colored and is often full-bodied. After hand-picking, the grapes were gently destemmed and crushed into a small, open topped fermentor. The “must” was hand-punched and macerated for 27 days. After pressing, the wine was settled for 48 hours, and racked “dirty” into a combination of new and once-used French oak barrels. After 20 months of aging and four rackings, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered on June 7, 2006.