2017 Bench Sonoma County Chardonnay


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.


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. 


The wine was fermented in a combination of stainless steel and French Oak. The tank was inoculated with a proprietary yeast, while the wine in barrel fermented on indigenous yeast. The malolactic fermentation was halted to retain crispness. The wine aged in tank and barrel for 11 months before blending and bottling.

Tasting notes

Aromas of honey and orange blossom precede a crisp palate of Asian pear, honeydew melon and mineral notes of wet stone. It’s an elegant and zippy wine with a clean and refreshing finish.


Sonoma County