Tasting Notes for Benj

(1,307 notes on 1,279 wines)

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Red
11/17/2019 - Benj wrote:
88 points
This is a BIG wine. Dark, inky, almost black color. Extremely viscous for a dry wine. Chocolate, dark berry pie, smoke, and baking spice. This is much more a Shiraz in the Australian vein than any Syrah from the Rhône. So then the question is what you want from this grape. If you want a hyper-concentrated, ultra-ripe, high-alcohol juggernaut, oh boy have you got it. For some palates this will be heaven. For mine it is too much, especially the alcohol. I found after half a glass that I didn’t want to drink any more. 15.9%, $60.
Red
11/3/2019 - Benj wrote:
92 points
A standout while tasting at the Lytton Springs location. To me this was better than the 2016 Klein and Estate cabs that were poured. Elegant, restrained, beautifully textured with medium leathery tannin, excellent acid, pure cedar for days, and sitting right on the boundary of what should be a long maturity. No rush, but this is drinking beautifully now. $75.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Ridge Mazzoni Home Ranch Sonoma County Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel (view label images)
10/17/2019 - Benj wrote:
92 points
This was showing beautifully tonight right from the pop-and-pour and held well through the three hours over which we drank it. A touch of VA gives this some welcome lift and brightness. Quite pure zin fruit - unmistakably so, quite young in its fruit profile - but with extra heft and a fair bit of tannin. Just the right acid level to complement the fruit (which is not too ripe) and oak (which is fairly evident, especially in a warm creaminess). This will sit pretty for some years to come but is drinking very nicely now.
Red
10/7/2019 - Benj wrote:
91 points
Nose has blackberry-mulberry compote, a little petrichor, ripe berries, wet flowers. On the palate this has lots of the compote with a shaved chocolate note, summer pudding, medium-plus grainy tannin, medium-plus acid, some pleasing green astringency at the end. Well made, nicely handling its 14.9% alcohol.
White
10/7/2019 - Benj wrote:
86 points
Creamy fruit nose with dried pineapple, baked pear, drumstick sweets, just a touch sharp. Palate is quite viscous and full, some leesy notes, a little hot. Doesn’t taste 14 years old, but a bit awkward. Some nice plum in the mid-palate though. Not too oaky.
White
10/7/2019 - Benj wrote:
88 points
Mature golden colour. Nose has golden raisin, ground nuts, a little honey-buttered toast, just a whiff of oxidation but In good shape. On the palate this still has great structure - medium juicy acid, quite a bit of oak tannin, nice grippy mouthfeel throughout, quite tertiary, almond on the finish. Very nice if still quite oaky. Perhaps 10 years past its peak but holding on well.
Red
10/5/2019 - Benj Likes this wine:
95 points
Tasted after several hours open. Dark bloody red. Nose is unctuous w/ cassis-chambord liqueur, woody herbs, blood, ripe berries, fall leaves, and a little bell pepper and cocoa. The palate is concentrated and rich, tons of chocolate-covered berries, low-medium acid, medium-plus tannin, very long, bags of bitter chocolate on the finish with a little spice like toasted cinnamon. Some minerality keeps it from cloying. Not for all palates but a bottle full of deliciousness. 14.5%, $170.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
10/5/2019 - Benj Likes this wine:
93 points
Nose is lifted and pretty, greener than the Becklyn but pleasantly so. Bramble, Berry liqueur, pencil shavings, spiced wood, touch of sage. Palate has medium-high acid and tannin, built to reach its teens, but the VA is high so it may not make it. Alcohol is high but reasonably so for such a concentrated wine. Again, not to all tastes. This is beautiful ripe fruit pampered in quality oak and it tastes like it. 15.2%, $220.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
9/24/2019 - Benj wrote:
94 points
Nose is sweet-savory with raspberry liqueur, tree bark, unripe blackberry, redcurrant, and a touch of smokiness. Palate has juicy high acid for days and great texture and concentration throughout, more smoky fruit, a little licorice and a toasted cinnamon-scotch note right at the end. Black tea. Finishes very clean and focused. Plenty of stuffing but well restrained and very pretty. Superb. For my palate drinking very nicely now but plenty ahead of it. Acid may be too high for some. 14.4%, $70
1 person found this helpful Comments (2)
White
8/23/2019 - Benj wrote:
91 points
Very nice Sauvignon Blanc that is somewhere between Bordeaux and New Zealand in style. Weight without heat, mineral and a touch oily but also zesty and a little green (pleasantly). Well structured, solid throughout the palate. A pleasure to drink and quite well priced. I expect this will actually drink better in a year or two. 13.5%, $27.
White - Sparkling
8/21/2019 - Benj wrote:
93 points
Unripe pear, white flowers, nice yeast balance, fine mousse, good weight but clean and precise. Finishes long. Lovely stuff.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White
8/4/2019 - Benj wrote:
90 points
Very peachy indeed, lovely aromatics, touch of spice. Good acid, alcohol just coming through a little bit in general well made and showing nicely even at this young age. Would love to try it in a year. 14%
Red
8/4/2019 - Benj wrote:
94 points
Showing stunningly tonight. Olive, black pepper, red fruit, some minerality, beautiful balance, fine tannin, lovely precision. Elegant, restrained. Exactly my kind of thing. 13.5%
White
8/2/2019 - Benj wrote:
88 points
Smells like a Chinese supermarket. Great acid, nice texture, a little quiet on the mid-palate. Somewhat South African in style. Nice, but not a patch on their other wines. $38.
1 person found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
8/2/2019 - Benj wrote:
90 points
Cracked pepper, savory & bright, good tannin, not jammy, acid under control. Would love to see this in 10 years. $60.
Red
8/2/2019 - Benj wrote:
92 points
Quite plush, very well balanced, lovely texture, medium-fine tannins, some purple flowers. Needs time to open up a little, but should be very charming in a couple years. $100.
Red
8/2/2019 - Benj wrote:
91 points
Textured, grippy, dark red fruit, quite savory on the finish. Very nice. $70.
Red
8/2/2019 - Benj wrote:
90 points
Very pretty, smooth, darker fruit than I was expecting. A little come-hither. $70.
White
8/2/2019 - Benj wrote:
91 points
Compared to the Sevens Bench this has more creamy fruit, less grip, lower acid, more pronounced alcohol. My guess is that this will be more appealing to most, but is less appealing to me. Regardless, it is pretty and delicious. $65.
White
8/2/2019 - Benj wrote:
94 points
Just lovely. Meyer lemon, lime leaf, and morning in the patisserie; singing acid, lovely tannic grip, gorgeous texture, full of life. $65.
Red
8/1/2019 - Benj wrote:
90 points
Took 30 minutes to really open up, still building after an hour. Color is quite dark. Nose is blackberry-cherry liqueur, a touch of browned cream, dried flowers, and a note like a Highland single malt - boozy but floral. On the palate this has medium acidity, low-medium tannin. Very good purity of fruit, savory undercurrent, plush pillowy texture. I would personally prefer a little more zing but this feels like a stylistic textural choice by the winemaker. Just a touch hot in my mind, but very enjoyable. Best to drink in the next 3 years, for my tastes 14.2%, $40.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
7/18/2019 - Benj wrote:
87 points
Quite a distinctly varietal nose for a cab of this price. Plush fruit, low-medium tannin, low acid. A little soft, but tasty all the same. Not a bad QPR but for my tastes I probably wouldn't buy again. 14.5%, $14.
Red
7/13/2019 - Benj wrote:
88 points
Very dark color for a Pinot. Nose smells older than it is, with lots of nicely integrated sweet oak, dark cherry, caramelized fig, raisin, touch of woody herbs. Palate has good acidity, pretty well resolved tannins. Overall the impression is quite dark and old. I think I would have preferred this a couple years ago, or perhaps this bottle is old before its time. Still very nice, but a little ripe and desiccated for my tastes. Freshens up a little with some air, and better with a light chill. 14.2%, $50.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
7/7/2019 - Benj wrote:
Popped this a few months ago after having held onto it for far too long. One of those wines I just never got around to drinking in the 8 years I had it. However, on opening in 2019 it was in remarkably good shape, full of weight and oiliness and good acidity. A little tired, but not nearly to the extent I was expecting.
White
7/7/2019 - Benj wrote:
91 points
Note is from memory since I drank this at least 2 or 3 months ago, but I recall this as having excellent concentration and balance, with good dried pineapple, lovely acidity and weight, and handling its alcohol very well. The best of the Virginia Petit Mansengs I have tried.
Red
7/6/2019 - Benj Likes this wine:
92 points
The baby brother of the Sonoma Hillsides, this is a screaming deal. The nose is savory-floral-fruity with overwhelmingly pure kalamata olive and mouthwatering purple fruit. On the palate this is surprisingly fruit-forward. After the nose I was expecting something more savory, perhaps even austere, but this is bright and pretty and juicy and a great deal of fun, yet with the structure to hold. Just delightful, and an excellent QPR. 12.6%, $30.
Red
7/6/2019 - Benj wrote:
91 points
Dark purple color. Nose is violet, olive, pepper, plum skin. Palate is medium bodied, high acid, medium-high tannin, very bright yet quite ripe red and purple juicy fruit. Very well constructed throughout the palate - some of these whole-cluster low-ripeness Syrah can tend toward the in.sipid but this has the bones to handle it. Ends grippy and full of raw almond 100% whole cluster, 18 months in neutral oak. Pax Mahle does a lot of fun experimental stuff but I come back for the Syrah. 12.3%, $60.
Red
2016 Pax The Vicar North Coast Red Rhone Blend (view label images)
7/6/2019 - Benj wrote:
89 points
Grenache-Mourvèdre blend. Extremely aromatic, very bright fruity-floral. Smells quite a lot like an Aviation with its creme de violette and green gin botanicals. On the palate it's quite a lot lighter than its medium-dark color would suggest. Quite stemmy-green, but well balanced here with a nice core of bright and some darker red fruit. Medium acid and fairly tannic still. Probably good with turkey. 100% whole cluster, some time in neutral oak. Grenache from Russian River Valley, Mourvèdre from Mendocino. 13.7%, $40.
Red
7/6/2019 - Benj Does not like this wine:
84 points
Very carbonic, lifted nose full of redcurrant, glacé cherry, cinnamon, and green notes. Palate follows through and has the extremely volatile, almost nauseating ester-y fruit-chemical-green aromatics I associate with this style, which I cannot bring myself to like no matter how hard I try. High acid, quite bitter in the mid-palate, demands food. And, for me, demands a different wine. This style is popular among us wine geeks these days but has never been to my taste. 100% whole cluster, carbonic maceration followed by some time in neutral oak. 12.5%, $40.
White
7/6/2019 - Benj wrote:
87 points
Slightly cloudy straw color. Nose is bright and lean, green citrus, green apple, wet wood, a little spritzy, touch of creaminess. Palate is juicy on the front but transitions to quite bitter, green, and austere in the mid-palate and beyond, where it softens slightly into raw almond. A little softer with air. Bone dry. Interesting, if a little difficult to drink by itself. 12.2%, $30.
Red
7/6/2019 - Benj wrote:
90 points
94% Syrah, 6% Viognier. Very aromatic nose, quite ripe, some partially dried fig, floral-jammy, good acid, leathery tannin. Well put together. Not my preferred style of Syrah but a very nice wine. 14.5%, $40.
Red
7/6/2019 - Benj wrote:
88 points
My immediate impression on both the nose and palate was "too much oak". Indeed, Carmichael gets more new oak than others in Ridge's lineup to complement the rich fruit. Which I'm sure is lovely for many tastes but too vanillic and sweet for mine, especially on a hot summer's day. 14.2%, $30.
Red
7/6/2019 - Benj wrote:
91 points
50/50 cofermented Zinfandel and Carignan. Very bright and zingy in both the nose and palate. Ripe fruit balanced by some woody-green character (note: this is 100% destemmed, as, I think, are all their zins and zin blends). Low alcohol, high flavor, lovely energy and restraint. I wouldn't be surprised if this gets better for 5-10 years. 13%, $30.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
7/6/2019 - Benj wrote:
88 points
Much darker in color and fruit profile than the more northern vineyards from which Ridge sources fruit, this is deep, very ripe, and brooding. For my palate a touch too hot and ripe without the requisite acid to hold the fruit together. Likely better with a few years on it, but a pass for me given Ridge's other offerings. 15.1%, $30.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
7/6/2019 - Benj Likes this wine:
91 points
Lighter in fruit, tannin, and alcohol than the 2015, this achieves a great and all-too-rare feat for Zinfandel: it's pretty. Very well measured, delicious, my kind of thing. 14.5%, $30.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
7/5/2019 - Benj wrote:
90 points
Really vibrant and immediately accessible on opening. Has a savory, dusty undertone to it, as a number of Ridge zins do, which helps keep the fruit in check. The acidity on this is high considering the depth and weight of the fruit - makes me wonder how much tartaric they added. This is a bit deeper than the Blasi. Impressive for 100% zin with no support from other interplanted varieties. I think I would prefer this with another couple of years on it. I think it will do well with a bit more age. 14.7%, $32.
Red
7/4/2019 - Benj wrote:
91 points
A little animalic funky on the nose but this calmed down after about an hour. Otherwise this was lovely from the outset and only improved over a couple of hours. Very pretty, excellent fruit-oak balance, not at all heavy, plenty of juicy acid, light tannins, a little earthiness, well put together. Not a patch on the Evenstad, but lovely all the same and competitive at its price point. 14.1%, $50.
Red
6/29/2019 - Benj wrote:
89 points
Quite mature for its 7 years. Dark sweet fruit and spiced wood nose, very distinctively Cabernet. Holding its alcohol well, a little green on the mid-palate but not unpleasantly so. A good fix for a good price. Very nice, but drink up. 14.5%, $30. 89+
White
7/2/2019 - Benj wrote:
90 points
Tons of oak, but good oak. Hot on both the nose and the finish. Spiced fruitcake, ginger, pear, lemon oil, butter. A little sharp on the palate. Good if you like em big and bold. Not to my taste. 14.7%, $130.
Red
6/22/2019 - Benj wrote:
91 points
Fruit-driven but not bombastically so, with excellent acidity and integration, and with a lovely savory undercurrent on the palate. Handles its alcohol very well. Best after some time open, will reward another 3-5 years or more of waiting. 14.5%, $50.
White
6/23/2019 - Benj Likes this wine:
89 points
Lovely aromatic gooseberry-pineapple nose, candied green apple, honeydew melon, milky drumstick candy, right at the boundary between green and tropical. Palate has tons of gooseberry and passion fruit, some grapefruit and lemon peel on the finish, very fresh and juicy, medium-plus acidity throughout, not astringent but with plenty of verve - very well put together and a great QPR. 13.2%, $13. 89+
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
6/16/2019 - Benj Likes this wine:
92 points
Medium ruby color, slightest garnet to edges. Nose: stunningly bright red fruit: cranberry, redcurrant, some underripe raspberry, black pepper, olive (strengthening with time after opening), a little violet and smoked meat. Hugely aromatic. Palate: initially very light body, almost insipid on pop-and-pour, but building over time. At 2 hours this is fully open, light-medium body, high acid, low-medium fine tannin, very juicy throughout especially on entry and finish. Woody-green stemmy but not unpleasantly so. Fruit darkens with time to include plum skin and ripe mulberry-blackberry. A real aromatic treat. No rush whatsoever. 12.4%, $60.
1 person found this helpful Comments (4)
White
6/14/2019 - Benj Likes this wine:
93 points
Bright, juicy, some reductive matchstick, ripe citrus (almost yuzu-like), excellent zingy mouthfeel throughout, oak could use another couple of years to integrate better - not overoaked, just a touch rough around the edges - and this wine certainly has the goods to let it do that. Impressive. $125.
White
3/5/2019 - Benj wrote:
84 points
Medium straw color. Nose: light tinned peaches, fresh white cut flowers (not indolic), unripe grape skin. Palate: low-medium acid (best on entry), little grip past the entry, hollow mid-palate, short-medium finish. Low-medium astringency, low-medium alcohol. Nice, inoffensive, not super memorable. I would guess better when younger but they didn’t bottle this until late 2017 anyway. 12.5%
White
2/19/2019 - Benj Likes this wine:
88 points
Medium straw color. Medium viscosity. Nose: honey, melon, pineapple, ultra-ripe pear, dry cider. Palate: more dry cider, medium acid, just the slightest touch off-dry, medium alcohol coming through a little hot at first, a little grippy in the mid-palate. Slightly sharp at the back-end. V. slightly off-dry. Better with air and at about 45-50 degrees. Three months on lees, and you can really tell - this has a lovely savory base to it. Super impressive for the price, great QPR. 13.5%, $9.
White
2/17/2019 - Benj wrote:
86 points
55% Viognier 35% Roussanne, 10% Marsanne. Light-medium gold color. Nose: green apple, drumstick candy, unripe peach, unripe banana, nice. Slight hint of funkiness though - a bit sweaty. Palate: funkiness follows through but eases off over time. Medium body, medium acid, a little oily. Pretty well integrated, just a little awkward in the transition between the mid-palate and the finish. Finishes fairly clean with some realy nice green apple skin - probably the most distinctively green apple skin note I've ever had on a wine. Nothing remarkable but well made, a good quaffer, some good weight, acid, and fruit for the price. Shame about the slight funk. Great price though. Good QPR. 13%, $8.
Red
2/14/2019 - Benj wrote:
85 points
Nose: a little lifted, sweet fruit, some woody depth. Palate: sweet fruit on pop n pour, chills out to something still fruity but more savory with medium acid, medium tannin, clearly high alcohol but well integrated all things considered. Still holding strong 2 hours after opening, starting to fall apart a little after 4 hours. Impressive stuff, good QPR. 15.5%, $8.
Red
2/13/2019 - Benj wrote:
flawed
Badly corked. I’m wondering if the “no nose” from some of the other notes here is low-level TCA. This bottle has no nose or flavor but it does smell faintly of mushrooms and mildew. A shame, because the palate is well structured. 13.5%, $9.
White
2/12/2019 - Benj Likes this wine:
89 points
Medium straw color. Low-medium viscosity. Nose: ripe melon flesh, unripe melon rind, rubber, gooseberry, just-ripe passion fruit, a little citrus zest, very pretty, more expressive and better integrated as it warms from fridge temperature. Palate: follows nose but with more summers-day grass, medium acid - zippy entry, less so in the mid-palate and just a touch awkward on the back end, a little grip, medium-plus alcohol. Grip and almond note at the end of the finish suggests this has seen some oak. Rounder and less overtly acidic than a lot of NZ SB. Very nice, great QPR. 13%, $18. 89+
Red
2/3/2019 - Benj wrote:
Dark ruby color. Nose is the darkest of the three Bdx blends we tried here today. Chambord, cooked blackberry, spiced wood, touch of cherry juice. Medium body, medium tannin, low-medium acid. Alcohol a little hot at the back. A little underwhelming on the entry but better on the mid-palate and finish. Nice oak integration. This is good but...$45? I get it - land is expensive here, labor is expensive, and from the size of the winery/tasting stations/outside seating, Boxwood aren't making a lot of money from "day-out" visits/local tourism like a lot of other wineries in the area are. I might spend $22 on the Trellis, but this wine is too expensive for what it is. The tasting sheet helpfully tells me that James Suckling gave this 93 points. Maybe that'll persuade some people. 13.5%, $45. +1/2
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