2016 Bench Knights Valley Merlot

Winery

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.

Wine

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. 

Winemaking

Grapes are de-stemmed only and fermented on native yeasts in stainless steel and aged in French oak. 

Tasting notes

Aromas of blackberry, cherry and cedar precede lush flavors of black plum, pie crust, and tangy forest berries. Acidity and a tight structure make for a good food wine as well as aging over the medium term. 

Appellation

Knights Valley (Sonoma)

Varietal

90% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Size

750ml

Closure

Cork

Alcohol

13.8%

UPC

793573188113