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NM: Is there anything that has made you question prior assumptions or think about the varietal or site selection differently?
MS: Site, most certainly. I think farming objectives change from vintage to vintage with the climatic conditions. It all becomes a base of knowledge that you can then build upon in the future; it develops an information pool that you can later pull from. Farming these sites in particular, Cohn's an interesting example for me. I hadn't farmed anything in the middle reach or northern end of Russian River; it's rocky and the soil is very well-drained and quite different from the western Russian River. The vines respire more, so while I'd love to dry farm those vines, I don't think that I could; they need to get a little bit of water for heat suppression and they need a little maintenance water. With vines planted on rock in a relatively warm area (for this part of the world), you need to change your objectives.
NM: Bringing it all full circle, where do you see this new brand going and what are you hoping Benovia will articulate in the consumer mindset, especially for the two varietals you seem to be really showcasing, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir?
"As a producer, we're trying to make wines that have unique expressions that are balanced."
MS: It's always hard to try to play with what we want the consumer to perceive Benovia to be. But we, ourselves, feel that we're winegrowers in the Russian River Valley with three really distinctive sites. As a producer, we're trying to make wines that have unique expressions that are balanced. I think that this is a pretty good perspective as to what we're doing, the style of wine that we're trying to produce. How that changes over time is a tough one to put your finger on, especially being that we're such a new brand.
That newness as a brand and the production choices arising from it, I suspect, will allow Benovia Winery to increasingly express its unique identity among Sonoma Coast premium wine producers — as clearly as it does with the different styles of the varietals it showcases. To learn more about this producer, its story, and portfolio, visit Benovia online. Photo Credits: Benovia Winery.
Tasting Notes on the wines of Benovia
- 2007 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay: Pronounced aromas of citrus and pineapple coming through on the palate with flavors of McIntosh apple and pear, and developing into a savory finish of dried herbs and a fleeting hint of olive. Origin: Martinelli's Charles Vineyard.
- 2007 La Pommeraie (Russian River Valley) Chardonnay: Prominent green apple aromas echoing on the palate along with a full flavor of lemon creme, bright acidity, clear minerality, and beautiful oak integration. Origin: Martinelli's Frei Road Vineyard.
- 2007 Cohn Vineyard (Sonoma County) Pinot Noir: Pronounced aromas of ripe strawberry and bright red cherry coming through on the palate with a soft and alluring mouthfeel, fine powdery tannins and long, fragrant finish. Origin: Cohn Vineyard.
- 2007 Bella Una (Russian River Valley) Pinot Noir: Powerful scent of dark berries echoing on the palate with firmer mouthfeel, sandy tannins, and bright counterbalancing acidity. Origin: Martinelli & Dutton Manzana vineyards.
- 2007 Savoy Vineyard (Anderson Valley) Pinot Noir: Pronounced bright red berry fruit and warm spice aromas coming through on the palate along with savory, black olive flavors following through on the finish and chalky tannins. Origin: Savoy Vineyard.