My wife and I met Laura many years ago, I think exactly 2 dogs ago (reference her dog which would greet you when you pull up to the winery). She acquired the property in 1999. Laura has always been a one-woman show until her husband Michael is now helping out in the vineyard management and Laura continues as the winemaker. Laura has for over two decades focused on small production artisan wines with consistently quality year to year. When we can all get back to visiting wineries this is not “showy or upstaged” opulence facility, it is essentially their lifestyle and home. That said after spending some time with Laura, you immediately come away with the appreciation of her craft and pleasant personality. This quite boutique winery is just outside downtown Calistoga heading east on Lake County Highway. She currently produces three Zinfandel’s from different vineyards, Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, two Cabernet Sauvignon’s from Rutherford and Calistoga, a dessert wine made with 50% Zinfandel and 50% Petite Sirah, a Dry Rosé of Zinfandel and last but not least her flagship wine Bentley Cabernet Sauvignon. I still have a few bottles of her Bentley and one comes up to drink in 2021 and another in 2024. Unknown to Laura until she reads this, I have always kept her 2009 Bentley in a place of honor in the cellar on the display rack. Wines get this status either because the wine is exceptional or the winemaker/owner is someone special. In her case, both got her this position.
The Bentley Cabernet Sauvignon is named for Laura’s maternal grandmother, this wine is dedicated to all of her grandparents, each of whom influenced and instilled the hard work ethic needed to produce great wine. I purchased a few bottles of the 2009 but had never drank (only tasted at her winery) until the other night with friends. On the eyes a very deep and dark color with a medium heavy viscosity. On the nose a most intriguing and alluring red & black berries, cedar and vanilla aromas. On the palate, black cherries and mocha countered balanced with cedar and oak provided a luscious and mouth-filling wine. The finish is long and enduring with the classical Rutherford dust lingering and the aging in new French oak barrels provided the panache for a great finish. Laura and Michael manage the vineyard in Rutherford. The current release is the 2018 which goes for $100/bottle and is stated to last 20 years!!
I waited 12 years to enjoy the 2009 and my patience was extremely rewarded.