Benziger Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013

Dense, dark red-purple color; black cherry, cedar, spice on the nose; black cherry, blackcurrant tang, plum, mocha, vanilla on the palate.

Smoothly juicy while avoiding jammy; tasty tannins, reserved but balancing acidity; dry, soft and fun in the mouth, delicious without selling out to commodity wine consumer niches—that means appropriate oak and avoidance of grape jelly notes.

The winery’s Benziger history began in 1980 when brothers Mike and Bruno Benziger purchased the historic Wegener Ranch on Sonoma Mountain in Glen Ellen. Over the next several years, the four remaining Benziger siblings—Joe, Bob, Jerry, and Patsy—and their spouses joined them. The winery began the movement to Biodynamic farming in 1995 and received first certification in 2000. By 2006, all Benziger wines were certified by various groups.

Green farming is a big thing at Benziger. A really big thing. Every wine in the portfolio carries a third-party certification of green farming practices: certified sustainable, organic, or Biodynamic. The entire operation is managed with eco-responsibility. That’s good PR, but as many winemakers now assert and Benziger on its website says: “We don’t just farm this was because we think caring for the land is the right thing to do, it also happens to be the best way to make distinctive, authentic wines.”

Benziger Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013 is delicious entry to quality Sonoma, a clear step-up from generic commodity pours. Definitely worth a pour. $19-22

Benziner Family Winery website

Other photos: Benziger vineyards near Glen Ellen; event at Benziger winery.