Napa Valley, CA; 14.1% ABV
$8 at the Richmond, CA store on 4 May
After I rather disliked the Benessere 2010 Sangiovese (though many liked the 2009), I wasn’t going to touch this wine. But the store manager thought I should try it, and gave me this bottle. To my surprise, I loved it, but I had to be patient.
When I first opened it, it showed a good bit of the character that I have been thinking is American Oak (but might well not be) — artificial vanilla and rhubarb candy — but it seemed to fit better with the tangy raspberry fruit of Zinfandel than it had with the Sangiovese. The wine at first seemed to have only simple red fruit, but over time in a decanter, it slowly darkened and filled out. It wasn’t until it had aired 3 – 3.5 hours that I thought it really showed its stuff: ripe dark blackberry, purple / black grape, with complexities of black and red raspberries and cherries, set off by somewhat zingy acid. The slightly syrupy candy-like style is not typical of the Sonoma Zins I have liked best in the past, but I can accept it as more Napa-like.
The next day, the saved single-glass screw-cap bottle behaved similarly, still needing 3 – 3.5 hours in the glass to fully air. The flavors were more soft and plummy, but otherwise very similar. IMO, this is quite a good wine for the price, but you will need to let it air or age a while to get the most out of it.