2009 Napa Valley Merlot
Merlot •Benessere Vineyard
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s Napa Valley Merlot is a food-fantastic, delicious, brilliant example of just how great Merlot can be. Whenever we feature a standout wine, we issue a special alert.
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Mission Codename: Bravissima!
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Benessere Vineyarrds, secure an allotment of the newest vintage of the winery’s 2009 Napa Valley Merlot, a food-fantastic Merlot that is reported to be their best in years.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Benessere Vineyarrds
Wine Subject: 2009 Napa Valley Merlot
Winemaker: Jack Stuart
Backgrounder: True wine lovers, Merlot is one of the finest wine varietals in the world. Today, Merlot continues to sell in record numbers across the US, out-pacing most other varietals. Merlot is a sincere, food-fabulous wine for serious wine drinkers. Today’s wine raises the bar for Napa Merlot, by delivering a delicious, complex, fruit-forward wine with plenty of complexity.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – The deep, ruby-hued edges of this wine catch the light and make the wine seem alive with energy. This color darkens toward the core, where the wine remains clear. After a good swirl, tall, wine-stained tears appear high on the glass – and then march steadily downward.
Smell – Lush red raspberry and softly spiced cherry jump from the glass. Just beneath are ripe blackberry, black currant, exotic spices, sweetwoods, licorice and earthy bramble.
Feel – Very soft and very supple on entry. Then, the wine slowly becomes more firm and mouth-filling. Medium grained tannins add grip at the edges of the tongue. A soft dryness spreads rearward, introducing soft spice and a hint of toasty oak as it moves. Balanced acidity is supported by a touch of flinty minerality.
Taste – Red fruit takes the lead here, with sweet cherry, smoky cranberry and dark raspberry. These primary flavor is followed, soon after, by black cherry and sweet blackberry, with more subtle flavors of tobacco leaf, dried leaves, spice and a soft hint of black pepper.
Finish – Long and juicy, with lingering flavors of cherry, black cherry and cranberry and soft spice. Medium tannins and balanced acidity provide great backbone as flavors tail off very slowly. At the very end, flint and black pepper persist for a little while after the fruit flavors diminish.
Conclusion – Today’s 2009 Benessere Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot really is a fantastic representation of this great varietal. Few wines are better for flexible food-pairing, and today’s really shines a food-friendly companion. We paired ours with a spice-rubbed lamb shank and the wine really shined. Juicy red fruit and a juicy acidity we just right for a quick cleanse of the palate, between bites. If you love great Merlot, today’s is certain to offer you great pleasure. Benessere specializes in Italian varietals, and while Merlot is not Italian, per se, it is the 5th most planted wine grape in Italy. Benessere certainly builds their wines as accompaniment to a great meal. Taste their expertise with this special offering.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Benessere Vineyards winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Only the third bottling of Benessere Merlot since 2002. This Merlot is dark, supple, ripe and rich. Pairs well with entrees, aged cheese, dried fruits, and deep, dark, high cacao content chocolates.
Technical Notes: 100 percent Merlot from Benessere vineyard. The crop was light to normal, with smaller berries, and came in later than the two previous vintages by as much as two weeks. The fruit developed maturity and varietal intensity at lower Brix levels, resulting in balanced, flavorful wines of great character.
About The Winery:
“Benessere” is the Italian word for well being and prosperity. This is the feeling we try to embody at Benessere Winery. We are a small family owned, high end producer of Italian varietals, located in the north end of Napa Valley on the valley floor where the soil is well suited for growing excellent wine.
The property was purchased in 1994 by John Benish. At that time it had been abandoned for some years. It has now been restored and everyone who visits comments on our beautiful setting. The buildings are sunny yellow, the flowers are breathtaking and visitors like to linger to enjoy the ambiance while sipping our exquisite wine. Because we are small, we pride ourselves on individual attention to all our visitors. Everyone who comes is treated as company and we hope you will feel this when you visit us.
In 1998 we harvested our first crop. Sangiovese is our signature wine. This beautiful deep-ruby colored, aromatic wine pairs well with all foods. We are continuing in our quest to produce the finest Sangiovese possible through gentle handling of the fruit and of the resulting wine. The Black Glass Zinfandel is exceptional and can be drunk for special occasions or for every day. You will enjoy it immensely. We make a Pinot Grigio, loved for its clean crisp taste, with fruit that has been purchased in Carneros. Every year we sell out of this very quickly.
We have expanded our selection of varietals to include Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah and Muscat di Canelli. We also produce an outstanding blend called Phenomenon.
The wine club is open to new members. Some of our wine can be bought only through the wine club. Although we have a large group we give them all individual attention, and even have several parties a year open only to our members. They are very festive affairs and our members always enjoy these events.
In addition to our beautiful property and beautiful wine, we also have the distinctive possibility of being the only place where the late Luciano Pavarotti, the world famous tenor, made his only movie, “Yes, Giorgio”. The movie company installed a tennis court especially so Luciano could play tennis in that movie.
We would be honored to have you visit our winery.