Benziger Family Winery Chardonnay 2022

Pale gold color; yellow apple, pear, apricot, lemon meringue, mango, oak spice, butter on the nose and palate.

Benziger Family Winery Chardonnay 2022

Dry; good acidity (3.4 pH), no noticeable tannins. Juice is cold-fermented in neutral French oak, then spends six months sur lie in New French oak. Seventy-five percent of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. The result is a clean, creamy pour with restrained oak. The grapes are sustainably farmed in Sonoma County. Benziger notes their sustainable philosophy promotes natural vineyard management, restoration of the land, and biodiversity on the estate. The goal is to accurately reflect their terroir. 14% ABV

Benziger reports its 2022 vintage enjoyed a consistent, mild growing season that produced healthy grapevine canopies. Then came a heat spike of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Labor Day, which engendered higher sugar levels. Later, September brought relief with rains that refreshed the vine and allowed for extended ripening. The overall result was balanced flavor development.

Mike and Mary Benziger at start of winery in early 1970s
Wegener Ranch purchased by Benziger in 1980

Mike Benziger and his wfe, Mary arrived in Northern California in 1973 to start their wine adventure. Mike and his father, Bruno, purchased the historic Wegener Rancho on Sonoma Mountain in 1980. Benziger Sonoma Mountain Estate transitioned from conventional farming to Biodynamic in 1995 and was officially certified in 2000. In 2006, all Benziger wines were certified as sustainable, organic, and Biodynamic. In 2015, Mike retired as winemaker and was replaced by Lisa Amaroli. Benziger son Chris is the winery’s brand ambassador and vice president.

Benziger winemaker Lisa Amaroli

Benziger Family Winery Chardonnay 2022 is a nice, competently-made Sonoma chardonnay at a good and fair price point. Lively acidity frames citrus, apple, and stone fruit. Grapes sourced from sustainably-farmed blocks with commitment to allowing the fruit to stand out and not be muted by oak and butter thanks to deft use of oak and a restrained malolactic regimen. Cheese—can handle big flavors, not too salty; sheep milk and goat milk cheeses; sharp cheddar, gruyere, washed-rind, parmesan, brie, ricotta, fontina, camembert, gouda, provolone. $14-16

Benziger Family Winery website

Benziger vineyards near Glen Ellen
Benziger wine ambassador Chris Benziger
Benziger vineyard