Bench

Making Artisanal Wines Accessible to All

Founded in 2008 and located in Sebastopol, Sonoma County, the Brack Mountain Wine Company takes an approach to making and marketing wine they believe is more in tune with the 21st century. It operates neither as a “chateau” (no iconic buildings, sprawling estate vineyards, gardens, or caves) nor as a “negociant” bottler of bulk wine. Instead, the company focuses its attention entirely on the craft of producing fine wine. This begins with establishing long-term relationships with growers who farm vineyards sustainably. Whereas Brack Mountain does own a small property in the Dry Creek Valley, most of their production is sourced from excellent vineyards throughout Sonoma County as well as Napa, Mendocino and the Central Coast. BMWC produces a wide range of wines, including appellation and single-vineyard bottlings, varietal wines and blends, coastal Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, Sonoma and Napa Cabs, old-vine Zins and even such obscure varietals as Pinot Gris, Verdelho, and Charbono. Rather than bottle the whole gamut of styles and AVAs under one label, BMWC sells them under 17 different brand names - each with a unique and eye-catching label. In this way, wines from different subregions or in different price categories are given a unique identity, and the company has more versatility in targeting different markets, such as restaurants, wine bars, connoisseurs or millennials. Despite the variety, one thing remains constant: winemaking. All the wines are produced in small lots and in a style that emphasizes freshness, balance, age worthiness, and moderate levels of alcohol. Avoiding many of the costs of running a traditional winery, BMWC can afford to use such artisanal methods as natural yeast fermentations and French oak aging with even its most value-oriented labels.                                                                                                                                                                                Bench offers wines sourced from benchland vineyards planted along the rise between a valley floor and rocky slopes. These vineyards produce wines with character and structure. Bench label wines are AVA-designated, focussing on specific subregions within Sonoma County, such as the Russian River Valley and the Alexander Valley. These wines are sourced from carefully-selected and sustainably-farmed vineyards. BMWC’s most popular label, Bench offers elegant, modern and approachable wines at affordable prices.

Wines from this Winery

2017 Bench Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

2017 Bench Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

This Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir features vibrant aromatics and lively flavors. It was sourced primarily from the Sangiacomo Amaral Vineyard on the Sonoma side of Carneros with a small amount from the Russian River Valley for additional depth and structure. Gentle handling in the winery, such as frequent manual punchdowns instead of pumpovers during the maceration, brought out the dark color without extracting excessive tannins or bitterness. Racking the wine to barrel just before fermentation finished preserved the structured core of dark fruit. The affordable price makes opening this high-class Pinot an easy decision. Try it with grilled vegetables, chicken or fish.

Details
¥ 3,500
2017 Bench Knights Valley Merlot

2017 Bench Knights Valley Merlot

Bench Merlot is juicy and succulent, offering an expressive nose of cherries and blackberries and a creamy palate that blends rich dark chocolate with black plum and cherry. While the Knights Valley is the warmest of Sonoma County’s avas, the Totem Ridge vineyard, the sole source of this Merlot, is planted on a north-facing slope at an elevation of 250 m. Afternoon breezes and plenty of shade (in addition to well-drained volcanic soils) provide excellent terroir for the is cool climate grape variety. Try this wine with roasted squash or peppers as well as any dish with lots of mushrooms. 

Details
¥ 3,500
2017 Bench Sonoma County Chardonnay

2017 Bench Sonoma County Chardonnay

Tasteful and elegant, Bench Chardonnay offers a pure and honest expression of the Russian River Valley at an affordable price. Located in the Russian River Valley, the Louvau and Bazzano vineyards used as the source for this wine were planted in the 1970s. Even though less was understood in those days about matching clones to vineyard sites, these vines consistently produce grapes with excellent fruit, acidity and minerality. Fermented and aged only partially in oak, Bench Chardonnay is made in a crisp, approachable style that emphasizes the purity, natural acidity and minerality of the fruit. It would pair well with seared scallops or grilled sea bass. 

Details
¥ 3,500
2016 Bench Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Bench Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

Though labeled with the Sonoma County appellation, this wine was sourced from the Totem Ridge Vineyard in the Knight’s Valley. Located much farther inland than any of Sonoma’s other AVAs, the Knight’s Valley offers an ideal climate for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. And the carefully laid-out blocks in volcanic soils make Totem Ridge Vineyard an attractive source of grapes for a number of producers. Starting with the deep purple color, the wine pleases with floral and spice notes and mouthwatering dark and red fruit. As with many of the Brack Mountain wines, it’s lower in alcohol than many a California Cab and will compliment a wide range of dishes.

Details
¥ 3,500