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’06 Benziger Carneros Chardonnay

… Gently I grasped and sweetly I whispered with a melody in my voice, “(If loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right.”

As a summary for a California Chardonnay, that song title, speaking to an illicit love affair, would be it for the ’06 Benziger Carneros Chardonnay. 

My own palate and prevailing wisdom amongst the critical elite keep telling me that I should not like this wine. 

We all know California chards are tropical fruit punch, butter bombs, and certainly not the food-friendly, acidic, and balanced whites from elsewhere; the Gruner’s, Gewurtz’s and Riesling’s that have turned outlying wine regions fashionable again.

Yet, this wine delivers.  And, it delivers as a California Chardonnay—pleasing in that stylistic hallmark kind of way with its ripe forward tropical fruits and prevalent buttery toastiness, but not in an overwrought polarizing fashion.  It is just a good bottle of wine.  Double bonus points go for the neat trick of being fruit forward on the front and mid-palate with the zippy acidity showing up on the finish, enough to create the impression of balance and invite lingering sip after sip. 

The Benziger family is notable for their green practices, as well. I am one person that believes that marketing and social responsibility are symbiotic in increasing accountability.  So, to that end, I laud Benziger for their responsibility in green actions that leads to green marketing.  If using the fact that they power their exterior winery lights with solar power as a public relations tool is hoary to some, I am okay with it because stating something as factual intent creates the need to deliver against that statement and managing to expectations is never a bad thing, especially around green practices.  You can read about their involvement in green activities and biodynamic farming here.

You will find this wine all over the Internet at prices ranging from $9.99 to $15.  It nearest competitor is likely the ubiquitous Kendall-Jackson Vintner Reserve.  Both have similar philosophies, with the Benziger tagline being, “Farming for Flavors” with an educational bent similar to the K-J, “A Taste of the Truth.”

Regardless of your disposition on California Chardonnay, I would encourage you to try this wine.  Challenge your own preconceived notions just as I did and see what you find out.  You may be singing the same song I am. 

My Review is found here: ’06 Benziger Carneros Chardonnay


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