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Swirling Pino


Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine Rates the 2009 Vintage Fall Release


92 Points | 2009 Pinot Noir Savoy Vineyard, Anderson Valley

"Here is a Pinot that hits all the right marks from fruity focus and balance to richness and range. It leads with deep, well-extracted aromas of dark cherries, dusty earth spice, sweet oak and dried violets, and its layered flavors follow suit. While it is impressively stuffed, it is always well-structured, and its firm, lightly tannic, long-lasting finish is the mark of a Pinot that is destined to age famously. While we recommend that it be set aside for a couple of years at the least, we would not be surprised if it improves for a half-dozen or more."

92 Points | 2009 Pinot Noir Bella Una®, Russian River Valley

"Optimally ripened cherry-like fruit again sits at the heart of this bottling, yet the wine is ever so slightly brighter and a just a bit fresher than it mates with a little more acidy firmness apparent just now. There is more than enough richness and juice at work to comfortably predict that it will age very well, and its teasing glimpses of minerals and dried-flower complexity guarantee that time will bring more interest yet."

91 Points | 2009 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

"It may be the lowest priced of the Benovia bunch, but this rich, deeply fruited Pinot is a resounding success all the same. Both its ripe, well-concentrated, cherry-and-toast aromas and its solid, substantial flavors are long on defined varietal character, and, if always a fairly mouthfilling wine, it is buoyed by plenty of well-placed acidity. It will drink nicely with richer foods in the near term, but it too has the potential to improve with a few years in the cellar."

90 Points | 2009 Pinot Noir Cohn Vineyard, Sonoma County

"Ripe, lightly toasty and faintly suggestive of a touch of tea-leaf in the nose, this well-made Pinot Noir conveys plenty of richness while showing a real sense of nuance as well. It is moderately full-bodied and slightly supple in feel with a fine spine of neatly placed acidity lending structure and brightness. It suffers from a bit of youthful angularity at the finish, but it is a wine that will grow and round into shape nicely if allowed to rest for a few years in the cellar."

89 Points | 2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

"Another solid success from Benovia in 2009, this offering is only slightly off the pace set by the winery's best efforts insofar that it is slightly more direct and a bit less complex with not quite as much layering or nuance. It is, however, a polished, well-crafted wine that goes right to the varietal point, and its minimal tannin and comparatively open manner tag it as a very fine choice for drinking in the shorter term."

88 Points | 2009 Pinot Noir, La Pommeraie, Russian River

"A heftier, somewhat more muscular take on Pinot than any of its cellarmates, Benovia's 2009 La Pommeraie is a wine of real concentration and no small measure of extracted fruit, but it is also less polished and is compromised at the moment by a few youthful angles and edges. It ends on a note of peppery heat, and it may never achieve the same sense of elegance of its kin, but is deserves a few years patience nonetheless and will please fans of slightly sturdier Pinots."

88 Points | 2009 Chardonnay, La Pommeraie, Russian River

"Ripe and yet slight tight at the same time, this wine turns to oak and buttery tones for aromatic depth, and its stony, green apple fruit always stays somewhat in deep support. Whether it will come out in time or not, the wine is balanced and moderately rich in a way that will make very useful drinking up now with grilled fish but also invites a bit of age."


Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine • October 2011