“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages”. ~ Louis Pasteur

After a while, tasting wine and describing the experience is like hearing a familiar song. You know the next note even before it’s played.  So a Sauvignon Blanc is crisp, acidic, with notes of citrus and lemon and grass.  Cabinet Sauvignon has powerful tannins with tastes of green pepper and black currant. Pinot Noir?  Cherry, red fruit, smoke.   GGGEb.

But occasionally something comes along that changes that. Like a meal’s main course that you are familiar with. You’ve had it many times before, but this time it surprises you. The composition is different, its taste so much better than what you’ve had previously. And the peak of enjoyment comes with trying to describe why. No one flavor is over pronounced; all the elements (technique, spices, method of preparation, herbs?) work together in such exquisite harmony that try as you might you cannot classify it.

And occasionally that happens with a wine. When it does, we call that balance. Recently, I opened this Pinot Noir from The Benziger Family Winery that displayed the balance of a wire walker ... a Wallenda of Pinots. Yes, there was cherry. (It’s a pinot, after all). But the cherry was subservient to the whole: a composition of raspberry, strawberry, spice and cherry cola muted by a wispy veil of earth and faint forest floor. Yet for my entire attempt at precision, I’m still guessing at this - the notes keep repeating in my mind, trying to be singled out and identified with certainty. This wine teases all the senses, beginning with the most beautiful aroma of perfume I’ve ever enjoyed and progresses with its light garnet color in the glass.  It continues with a sensual mouth feel, and a supple silky texture that develops lusciously and finishes with you wanting nothing ever again but more San Remo Vineyard Pinot Noir. 

I shared this wine with The ChicagoWino who said it was as close to 100 points as a wine could get, maybe the best pinot he ever had. I don’t trust what I call “memory taste buds,” so I’ll say that this is the pinot I want next!

Pinot Noir is one of the most food friendly wines. Its bright acidity pairs it with so many foods. But this wine is so good, it can be enjoyed and savored by itself.  I’m giving it my rare 4 glass rating.

……………………  Jim

Benziger Family Winery                                                                     
1883 London Ranch Rd
Glen Ellyn, CA     95442
(707) 935-3000

* Visit for mini-tips on wine & food

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