Sunday, October 30, 2016

Wine Review: Benziger Sonoma County Merlot 2013

October is International Merlot Month thanks to!

Benziger Sonoma County Merlot 2013

This is the final review of International Merlot Month and I'm gonna start it off with a spoiler: this is a review for one of my most favorite wines ever. The combination of being both affordable and phenomenal make Benziger Merlot possibly my top suggested wine as wine manager of the Dennisport Lukes of Cape Cod. So now that you know how this ends, let's get to the other stuff.

Benziger is certified sustainable and uses biodynamic farming in their vineyards. Basically, biodynamic creates its own fully functioning ecosystem within the vineyard. They bring in specific flowers that attract the good bugs that fight off the bad bugs, thus eliminating the use of pesticides. They make their own fertilizer, use grazing animals to trim the soil cover crops, and etc. There's some really weird stuff that comes with biodynamic farming too, such as burying manure inside a cow horn, and having root days, fruit days, leaf days, and flower days dictate how, when, or if you're going to do certain things.

I'll never forget what Chris Benziger told me when I met him: "It sounds crazy. I still think it's crazy. But all I care about is that it works and it does." He would know. The winery took an enormous gamble in the 1990's when they shut down operations for the better part of a decade to convert their vineyards over to biodynamic, and since then their wines have been far better than they've ever been.

Elderwind, The Magic of Nature
Tonight's music selection is one that was suggested to me by a friend/co-worker and I've been listening to it ever since. It's a band called Elderwind, a death metal band from Germany, and their album titled The Magic of Nature. Holy crap is it good.

The color of the wine is a little redder than brick red on the edges, and it's as dark and dense as the music I'm listening to. You can't see a thing through it.

The nose just hits me right in the heart. If you love Merlot as much as I do then you'll see just what I mean. There's aromas of cinnamon, big juicy and ripe blueberry and blackberry, a hint of mint (hehe, that rhymes), and there's a fiery spiciness following it all up. I started this month with a Merlot that screams #MerlotMe on the nose and I'm finishing with one as well.

On the palate it echoes the flavor descriptors of the nose, it's medium to full bodied, has low acidity, medium and balanced tannin, and a mouthfeel that's as smooth as Luther Vandross. It finishes with blackberries, an uprise in tartness, and oak.

Outfreakingstanding, Benziger. Outfreakingstanding. And they kill it with this stuff every goddamn year! It's always insanely awesome! If you put this in the hands of anybody that doesn't like Merlot and they still say they don't like it then just flip them right the eff and tell them to get out of your house because they're hopeless.

I've had plenty of truly great Merlot's in my time in the industry. Ones that put this one to shame. But I (and, chances are, you) will never be able to afford them. You wanna know how much my #1 all-time suggestion for Merlot will cost you? $16. And it's this one.

Price: $16
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was purchased by myself for the purpose of this review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.


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