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Benessere Vineyards

Notes

Phenomenon

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 Phenomenon

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.

Zinfandel

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.

Sangiovese

2006 Sangiovese

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.

Muscat

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.

Pinot Grigio

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.

Syrah

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.

Hyde de Villaine Wines

HdV is a family venture between Hyde Vineyards of Napa Valley and Aubert & Pamela de Villaine of Burgundy, France. HdV is bottled under the coat of arms of the historic de la Guerra family from which Pamela de Villaine and the Hydes descend. The De la Guerra Family is one of the oldest winemaking families in California and traces its winemaking history back to a gold medal received at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Fair. Joining the venture in 2002, Winemaker Stéphane Vivier brings with him skills in vineyard management and winemaking from around the world. Born and raised in France, Stéphane's skills were cultivated in the vineyards and cellars of Pommard, Meursault and Chassagne-Montrachet and then expanded through his work in New Zealand and the Sonoma Coast Appellation.

Notes

Chardonnay

Often described as "very Burgundian", our chardonnays are distinctive among their California counterparts for their unique minerality and balance. Aged in French oak, the minerality and natural acidity of these wines provide a remarkably crisp wine which pairs beautifully with food and ages with elegance

2007 de la Guerra Chardonnay

The overriding theme of the 2007 season was the consistent dry weather. The characteristic temperate Carneros climate conditions existed through harvest only supported by extremely low amounts of early season precipitation. Fortunately, we did not endure heat spikes normally associated with August and September. The reward was small berries and clusters magnifying the brilliance of Hyde Vineyard. As a consequence, our 2007 vintage emphasizes concentration and depth in accord with the HdV trademarks of elegance, balance and minerality. Simply put, it was a vintage for the ages... The nose expresses a litany of pure, bright Chardonnay characteristics rarely found together: Pear, cinnamon, clove, roasted peach, lime rind, honeydew with hints of grapefruit. A strong core of minerality and acid exist providing a rich mouth-feel of orange and nectarine with a finish of sweet spices. The 2007 de la Guerra is balanced, elegant and persistent leaving your palate refreshed.

2006 HdV Chardonnay

The 2006 vintage was a year of eventful extremes. Despite significant flooding in parts of Napa Valley, winter rains did little damage at Hyde Vineyard where the shallow soils drain extremely well. Rain continued into spring delaying bud break by a few days. Mid-spring provided improved weather, as Hyde Vineyard experienced bloom along with a near perfect fruit set. A ten-day heat-spike in July caused sporadic sunburn on various exposed clusters shutting down growth and hindering maturation for nearly two weeks. Sunburned clusters were carefully removed before veraison. Finally, the weather normalized through the month of August and the remainder of the season, consisting of morning fog and flavor concentrating winds.

The nose exudes intense fruit characteristics ranging from ripe peach and apricot to tropical lychee and wet stone aromas. Powerful and complex flavors contrasted by a pure and refined structure. Similar to the 2004 HdV Chardonnay, the 2006 vintage is balanced with a tense acid structure providing finesse and purity. The mouth feel is broad and seamless giving way to a serious finish. The wine expresses an abundance of Hyde Vineyard fruit while maintaining the trademark HdV minerality. Recommended pairing with a wild mushroom or seafood risotto for a balanced dining experience.

Syrah

Eliciting thoughts of markets in the far east, the exotic aromas, textures and color of our syrah enchants us from year to year. A melange of characteristics develop from our four selections: Alban, Syrah Noir, 877 and 174. The Alban provides elegance very uncommon in syrah while the Syrah Noir selection balances Albans elegance with a rustic depth of plum, spice and good tannins. 877 & 174 follow along with excellent depth and distinct black cherry and sweet tobacco characters.

2005 HdV Syrah

The 2005 vintage in Los Carneros was cool and slow paced. After an early bud-break in the middle of March, Hyde Vineyard experienced wet weather in May and June. Summer consisted of cool weather thanks to the San Pablo Bay fog influence. From maturation through harvest, days were sunny and mild, allowing flavors to develop gradually with pronounced acidity and expressive complexity.

Initially, our 2005 Syrah features an intense nose of exotic spice and fresh game, however with time, the aromas develop into a perfume of delicate floral and dark berries. Around a core of supple, but powerfully textured tannins, the wine flows thru an array of complex flavors. From lavender to blackcurrant, the profound and concentrated flavors drift seamlessly into a balanced, long finish. This wine is what we've come to know as a classic cool-climate Hyde Vineyard Syrah. Aging until February of 2008 will give it time to re-emerge from its bottling. Reminiscent of the 2004 Syrah, this new vintage will shine when paired with meat on the grill during the 2008 summer. Bottles that survive next year's grilling season should gain in elegance over the next decade. The 2005 HdV Syrah currently favors decanting an hour before serving. It should continue to improve for another six to twelve years.

Bella Cousine

A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a wine that we craft true to the terroir. Year after year the winds of the Carneros shape this wine by encouraging transpiration of water from the fruit. This transpiration concentrates both the acidity and flavors that, in turn, create structure and a capacity for aging not often found in California wines.

A blend of three selections of merlot and one selection of Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is developed around a core of merlot with a strong infusion of Hyde Vineyards' unique Cabernet Sauvignon characteristic of gentle elegance.

Because the market requests it, we release the wines after only a couple of years, however we strongly encourage three to five years of cellaring to begin to understand the potential of this wine.

2004 HdV Belle Cousine

Five years of viticultural dedication amidst the HdV Merlot and Cabernet vines at Hyde Vineyard has produced a wine worthy of a new name: "Belle Cousine." The name honors our beautiful cousin who linked the two families of HdV when she departed the shores of California for a life amidst the vineyards of Burgundy.

Ten days of unusually warm weather in early March jumpstarted the 2004 growing season to a three week head start. The season then slowed. In late spring, the weather at Hyde Vineyard was cool and unsettled, but rain free. Finally, the quintessential Hyde Vineyard weather appeared, foggy mornings and warm afternoons with gentle winds - enough to concentrate flavors and sugars. The young Merlot selection was harvested just before the temperature soared in early September. The remaining Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon withstood the heat and the result is a concentrated and aromatic wine.

In the glass, this wine opens into an intense mosaic of spice, blackberry, red fruits, and sweet vanilla. Following this aromatic performance, the wine surges forth with a dense core of black cherry and hickory smoke. Peppered with notes of spice, red fruits, and sweet vanilla, soft mineral tannins accompany the black cherry core through the mid-palate and on to a long finish. The 2004 HdV Belle Cousine currently favors decanting an hour before serving. It should continue to improve for another six to twelve years.

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