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Benziger Winery's drought action plan

Benziger blends stewardship and the land
Benziger blends stewardship and the land
Julia Hollister

Benziger Family Winery takes a bold step each day –combining the biodiversity of plants and animals – to craft extraordinary wines in the shadow of California’s historic drought.

“We learned decades ago that responsible stewardship of the land yields more distinct, vibrant wines,” said partner and estate winemaker Mike Benziger and vice president of the winemaking Jeff McBride. “Our 85-acre biodynamically-certified ranch on Sonoma Mountain has acres of grapes, olives, pasture, woodlands and wetlands that have a proven record of resilience in the face of climate extremes.”

Two new releases – 2011 Sonoma County cabernet sauvignon ($19) and 2013 Sonoma Mountain dry rose ($15) – showcase the best expressions of the land.

Benziger cab exudes blackberry and mocha aromas that open the curtain for black currant, nutmeg and coffee flavors. This wine is a great buy and its muscular backbone pairs nicely with prime rib of beef or blue cheese-loaded burgers.

At the other end of the tasting spectrum, the dry rose is as refreshing as the late sun after a spring shower. It is crisp with seductive flavors of strawberry and kumquat that tempt the palate with raspberry and kiwi flavors. Serve this selection chilled along side Asian dishes, aged, creamy brie or shrimp and avocado salad.