Anthony Gismondi on Wine

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95/100 Benziger Tribute 2001

Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma County, California, United States

Vancouver is the first market to get its hands on the inaugural release of Benziger Tribute, a 100 per cent biodynamic, Sonoma Mountain wine produced  just out of Glen Ellen on the Benziger single vineyard property. The fruit, a mix of blocks 21 and 29 wine, was fermented on 100 per cent natural yeast for 21 days before it was drained warm into barrique where it was racked twice a year. Tribute has been many years in the making but it would appear the wait was well worth it. As fine as the reserve cabernet is, this 80/12/6/2 blend of cabernet sauvignon/ cabernet franc/petit verdot/merlot is even better. The nose is aromatic with black berry jam, cassis, pepper, vanilla, coffee and black olive aromas mixed with a background of tobacco, barnyard, licorice and gamey notes. Rich, concentrated, round the tannins are super supple and ripe. Intense vanilla, coffee, tobacco, licorice and pepper flavours mix with mint, olive and black berry jam notes. The finish is slightly, dry and firm at this point with more cassis, violet and coffee. Long, balanced and surprisingly drinkable now it will keep for three to seven years comfortably. Certainly one of the best ever for Benziger and true "tribute" to biodynamic production. Fabulous collector's wine.

Tasted: 2004-04-22 by Anthony Gismondi and Stuart Tobe
Prices: BC $99.95 (750 ml) Specialty
UPC: 785774040000
Producer: Benziger Family Winery
Distributor: Winspeer International Group Ltd.

Written By: ag
Anthony Gismondi
Anthony Gismondi

Anthony Gismondi is a Canadian wine journalist and one of North America's most influential voices in wine. For 30 years he has been the wine columnist for The Vancouver Sun. His twice-weekly column is distributed across Canada through Postmedia Network to 10 million readers. Anthony co-hosts the 20-year-strong BC Food & Wine Radio Show, which is broadcast in seven markets in B.C. and available online everywhere on iHeartRadio.ca. He launched Gismondionwine.com in 1997, attracting one million users a month from 114 countries. It continues to be a valuable resource of full tasting notes and intelligent wine stories and videos for the trade and consumers.