Bench wines are sourced from top vineyards in Sonoma, California, and made at the state-of-the-art Brack Mountain winery by award-winning winemaker Dan Fitzgerald, a veteran of esteemed wineries like Williams-Selyem, Pelligrini, Coldstream in Yarra Valley, and Robert Sinskey Vineyards.
The 2018 Bench Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes from the Totem Ridge vineyard, planted by Paul Vander Schalie in southern Knight's Valley near the vineyards used by Beringer Knights Valley, and even Peter Michael which he also planted. Matured for over 12 months in French Oak, around 30% of which was new.
A compote of blackberry, cherry, and spice aromas jump from the glass; a little heat with a touch of vanilla as well. The palate is immediately rich and redolent with black/red fruits, cocoa, anise, with a silky, lush feel. There's little in the way of intense alcohol heat, acidity, or tannic grip, which is not to say it's unbalanced: it's focused on being exactly the thing that it is, and on being that thing very well. By the time you realize how long the cherry/vanilla finish has been lingering on your palate and how relaxed and untaxed it is, you get just how well.