Bennett Lane Winery

2006 Maximus White Feasting Wine

White Blend

California: Napa Valley

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Mission Codename: A feast for the senses

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Revisit Bennett Lane and retrieve their delicious white ‘Feasting Wine’

Mission Status: Accomplished

Current Winery: Bennett Lane Winery

Wine Subject: 2006 Maximus White Feasting Wine

Winemaker: Rob Hunter


Napa Valley is well known as one of the best wine regions in the country. It is from here that the good folks from Bennett Lane Winery selected some amazing Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat to carefully blend a white wine that captures the best of these varietals. A true feast for your senses.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Crystal clear pale straw yellow in color with a slightly thicker visual viscosity and when swirled, slow medium thick legs descend to the wine below.

Smell – Medium in intensity with bright and fresh aromas of tropical fruit, pineapple, lime and clementines that are layered over floral sweet orange blossom and honeysuckle notes.

Feel – Fresh and crisp, with bright and tart acidity leads off on this medium bodied, but well structured dry white.

Taste – Light and fresh flavors of grapefruit, mandarin orange and other tropical fruits softened by other sweet and ripe tree fruit are framed by a lovely minerality and a subtle but sweet and rich honey component.

Finish – Extremely clean and refreshing and of medium length with lingering tart grapefruit, minerality and a tiny touch of sweet honey.

Conclusion – The 2006 Bennett Lane Winery Maximus White Feasting Wine is a lovely, fresh and easy white wine that is the perfect start to any meal or for a light lunchtime wine. Classic Sauv Blanc aromas and flavors along with its distinctive minerality kicked up a notch on the complexity scale with the addition of some Chardonnay and a touch of Muscat.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Rob Hunter, Bennett Lane Winery

DATE OF BIRTH: January 1960

PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, CA

WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis, BS, Winery & Vineyard Management (Three Majors of Enology, Viticulture & Agricultural Economics)

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Internships @ Woodbury Winery, Dom. Chandon & Schramsburg. Asst Winemaker @ Groth V & W (83-86). Winemaker @ Robert Keenan(86-90), Lyeth(90-92) & Markam93-97). VP & Dir. Of Winemaking @ Sterling Vineyards(97-04). Winemaker @ Bennett Lane (2004 – present

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: To highlight varietal fruit flavor by picking at flavor maturity rather than numerical ripeness.

SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Aromatic White and Bordeaux Red Wines

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Helping make the Groth 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, the first US Robert Parker 100 point Wine.

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Being elected to be the President of the Napa Valley Wine Technical Society. I nearly flunked Biochemistry 101B, had a horrible time with Chemistry overall, and never thought or even still think of myself as a “technical” type of Winemaker!!

WINEMAKER QUOTE: “My wines show my passion for perfection! One can never achieve true perfection, but they can strive for it through excellence. But you must always remember to keep your sense of humor!! Humor is infectious. Humor and Passion are the keys to life!"


AGENT RED: Greetings, Rob. We are thrilled to be showing your White Maximus today. Our Operatives loved your Red Max, so thanks for allowing us special access to today’s wine!

ROB: Always a pleasure, Agent Red.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

ROB: Yes, during my First internship working for Russ Woodbury.

RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?

ROB: Probably working for Nils Venge at Groth. I learned about Winemaking at Davis, I learned how to make wine from Nils.

RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?

ROB: To highlight the Varietal’s fruit flavor while taking a minimalistic approach in the cellar. Don’t over oak or over work the wines.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

ROB: The wines of Trimbach

RED: How long have you been making wine?

ROB: Since 1981, so that’s 29 years!!

RED: Who do you make wine for?

ROB: Predominantly Bennett Lane. That’s my “real job”!! I have my my own brand, Hunter III Wines, I also run my family’s Winery, Robert Hunter Winery, in Sonoma Valley, and I consult for Charter Oak Winery and Y3 Winery.

RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special?

ROB: Napa Valley has such a vast array of soil types and micro-climates that make it a wonderful patchwork quilt of unique viticultural areas to chose from.

RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?

ROB: Study up, and find a small Winery where you can intern at. Then watch and learn. Make sure not to ask too many questions!! (Winemakers can be moody souls when they get busy!)

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

ROB: Worrying about the rain!!

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today

WINEMAKER: The White Maximus is a delightfully aromatic wine, 88% SB, 10% Chard, 2% Muscat. The Chard is for body and texture. The wine should be served well chilled. Don’t worry, the Muscat’s aromatics come right through and make the wine delightful even when cold!!

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

ROB: Ceviche is fantastic!!

RED: Yum! Please share one thing about yourself that few people know

ROB: I was almost an opera singer.

RED: Cool. Tell me, what is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?

ROB: Chardonnay, Bennett Lane Reserve, of Course!!

RED: Right answer! Now, how would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?

ROB: With appropriate stemware. Poor stemware drives me crazy. You might as well drink it out of a coffee mug.

RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?

ROB: Sauternes.

RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?

ROB:What is your favorite type of cheese to go with wine? Morbier. It goes great with ANY wine, red, white, sauternes, even port!!

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

ROB: Until next time, Agent Maximus, err, Red

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Bennett Lane Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

With aromas of orange blossom and honeysuckle, this aromatic white wine displays incredible notes of mandarin orange, key lime and white peaches. On the palate the wine is crisp and has bright flavors of nectarine, ruby red grapefruit and comice pear. The body is full and elegant with layers of fruit and a hint of minerality.

Vineyard Notes: The majority of the grapes in the White Maximus are Sauvignon Blanc and they come from the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. This area is the result of centuries of erosion from the hills of the Mayacamas Range to the west of Yountville, providing deep black fertile loamy soils. This area is devoid of the foggy Carneros mornings, allowing the Sauvignon Blanc grapes to ripen evenly to maturity. The key to this wine is full flavor maturity and this region provides a superb steady growing environment, critical to the bright aromatics this this wine.

About The Winery:

Follow Napa Valley’s Route 29 north to Calistoga, and then keep going just 2 1/2 more miles. You’ll arrive at the pinnacle of the Napa Valley – the northernmost wedge where the Vaca mountain range meets the Mayacamas range. Here you will also find Bennett Lane Winery, sitting snugly at the edge of its own well-maintained Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard.

Owners Randy and Lisa Lynch purchased the property only five and a half years ago, but Bennett Lane is already making a splash in wine country with its lush textured Cabernet Sauvignon and a no-nonsense red wine varietal blend called Maximus, composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The winery has garnered an incredible thirteen 90+ Point Scores from Wine Spectator in four short years.

Maximus leads the way in Bennett Lane’s quest to produce high quality Napa Valley red wine. The 2002 Maximus was named the Top Value Napa Valley Cabernet for the 2002 vintage by Wine Spectator’s James Laube and the 2003 Maximus made a splash with a 90 Point rating from the Wine Spectator. Our newest vintage, 2005 Maximus, was also awarded 90 Points by Wine Spectator and was named an “Outstanding Vallue”.

The Cabernet Sauvignon program at Bennett Lane has two stars shining, the Napa Valley Cabernet and the Primus Reserve Cabernet. Our 2003 Vintages were both listed among the Top 50 Cabs in Napa for the year, with the Reserve scoring a stellar 93 Points. The 2004 releases followed suit, with a 91 Point Score for the Reserve and 92 Points for our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Our latest release is the 2006 Reserve Cabernet, scoring 92 Points in Wine Spectator.

About The Winemaker:

With more than 20 years of Napa winemaking under his belt, Rob Hunter joined Bennett Lane Winery as Winemaker in April 2005. Most recently Rob served as Vice President and Director of Winemaking for Sterling Vineyards, where he revolutionized Sterling’s wine style and defined the winery as a pioneer and leader in the Napa Valley. He also previously held posts as winemaker for Markham Vineyards, Vice President and Winemaker for Lyeth Winery and Winemaker and General Manager from Robert Keenan Winery. At Bennett Lane, Hunter will oversee production of the winery’s signature Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and Maximus, a ‘red feasting wine’ a whimsical blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah.

‘Working with Bennett Lane Owner Randy Lynch is an exciting prospect. Randy and I have similar palates; we are both very much attracted to intense black cherry fruit and a big jammy style,’ said Hunter. ‘In addition, working with Bennett Lane offers me the chance to help guide and shape the winemaking direction of a newer winery.’

Randy Lynch commented, ’I’m thrilled to be working with Rob, and I think it’s great to have him on board.’

Rob lives in St. Helena. An avid trail runner, woodworker and gardener, Rob also has a daughter, Haley.

Technical Analysis:

Varietal: 87% Sauvignon Blanc,11%Chardonnay & 2%Muscat

Appellation: Napa Valley

Cooperage: Stainless Steel Fermentation and Aging

Alcohol: 14.5%

TiA g/100mL: 0.62

pH: 3.4

Date Bottled: February 2007

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