Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Localization: Sonoma County, California, USA
Tasting Notes: Bench Pinot Noir is deep ruby red in the glass, the nose is full of dark berry fruit, hints of rose petals, and baking spices. The texture is silky and richly opulent with black cherry, ripe fig, and cedar wood rounding out a long, seamless finish.
The Domain: Tucked at the base of the Stags Leap Palisades, Bench Vineyards was inspired by their unique geography. Surrounded by a ring of hills and mountains, their unique orography in the Stags Leap District defines their wines and their famed appellation. Orographic influences are climatic influences, it is where the ground meets the air. Taking in his experiences growing up in the vineyards of Stag Leap, working the crush pad, and learning alongside his father, today he craft wines to share that story
Bench Vineyards is decades in the making, combining some of the most distinctive vineyards in Stags Leap with the most distinguished and dynamic individuals in the Napa Valley. Viticulturist Jim Barbour, winemakers Mike Smith and Bob Pepi, alongside founders Allison Steltzner and Sam Sharp. We walk these legendary vineyards with one goal, to handcraft vibrant terroir-driven wines.
Allison was born and raised in the vineyards of Stags Leap, deeply connected to the people, land, and lifecycle here in the Napa Valley. Sam was born and raised in New York City, surrounded by artists, musicians, and a culture of wine cultivated from his family's time spent in Europe and in the museum culture of New York. The girl from wine country and the boy from the big city met in Napa, married, and started a family while pursuing careers in the wine industry. In the back of their minds always lingered the thought to one day make a little wine from the historic Steltzner Vineyards property owned by Allison's family. Bench Vineyards is a love letter to Stags Leap, and to the Napa Valley, and the energy that wine brings to everyday life. We continue to write this love letter every season by handcrafting wines that honor the vineyard and appellations history yet strive to define its future.
MIKE SMITH, WINEMAKER
Purist, perfectionist, quiet observer, focused, humble, and frankly an amazing person, that is Mike Smith. To top that off he crafts exceptional wines. Mike came to Napa eager to learn in 2004, working harvest for free, sleeping on Thomas Brown's couch. The hard work and dedication paid off. A master of his craft, Mike continues to create the most dynamic, pure, vibrant, and celebrated wines coming from Napa Valley today, with a focus on single-vineyard terroir-driven wines.