Bennett Lane Winery – 2020 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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The Winery – Background

Randy and Lisa Lynch twenty years ago were looking for locations to build their Italian villa home and winery. They finally found this spot a mile or so north of the town of Calistoga. Their initial wine was named after the 2nd century Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus. Today a coin with pictures of Athena (Goddess of Wisdom), Bacchus (God of Wine), and Severus Alexander (Roman Augustus) adorn the bottles and name of a wine club. The stated goal of the winery was to have fun and enjoy some of the best wines produced in Napa Valley.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The primary role of the winery is to make it the friendliest winery in Napa Valley with approachability and warmth. This is evident in both their indoor and outdoor tasting areas.

 (Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The winemaker Rob Hunter is an engaging, knowledgeable person with a coy sense of humor. I was fortunate to be seated next to Rob while tasting and talked extensively about the wines and technically about smoke taint and efforts to minimize it. Note all the wines tasted today were harvested and in process before the fires of 2020! Rob’s background and experience catapults him to the top of the winemakers having extensive work experience at Groth, Keenan, Lyeth, Markam and Sterling wineries.

Winemaker Rob Hunter (Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The winery’s main wines are various levels of Cabernet Sauvignon but also produces Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé (from Petite Sirah grapes) and a few others and a blend. On their website they boast of being the home of 68 90+ wines from industry wine raters at Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The Wine – 2020 Bennett Lane Winery

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

The 2020 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon on the eyes was a deep cavernous red coloring and medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, red fruits wafted up to the senses. In the mouth, dark cherries filled the mouth and a hint of dark chocolate. The finish provided soft silky tannins and a mid-level finish. Rob the winemaker, mentioned that it is an “easy drinking wine” and “just flavorful and with a soft landing” on the palate. The wine lists for $75/bottle.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Selected this wine for dinner last night as a Cabernet Sauvignon with it smoothness and without harsh tannins to take away from the main dish. The main dish being slow cooked braised short ribs cooked in a red wine broth. The ingredients beyond the 3 pounds of bone-in beef short ribs were sea salt, pepper, olive oil, sliced yellow onions, quartered baby mushrooms, minced garlic cloves, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and bay leaves. Slow cooked for nine hours. A sour cream, horseradish and lemon zest sauce was prepared to enjoy with the ribs.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Served with mushroom risotto, roasted Brussel sprouts with balsamic glaze and a gorgeous fresh garden salad brought by our guests completed the meal. The meal was wonderful and paired with the wine as expected, exceptionally well.

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

We also enjoyed several other wines before, during and after the five hour dinner!!




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