Friends with Bennies

Ruddy garnet, bricking hard with heavy sediment. Dusty velvet saloon couch, Mexican leather furniture, Borkum Riff wafting generously through the redwoods, broken weeds and the not-singular note of petrichor rising from an almost mountain-fresh Dial solidarity with mint and berry. And what about the fruit? Sure we love tertiary but fruit is the most important–young or old. Thin bright berry exposes itself gradually behind the leather and tobacco, growing in cadence and concentration until in lock-step with the mud and humus. Dark and brooding, but not even candied enough to compare to maraschino or amaretto, it is a solid–if not fanciful–blackberry and ripe plum, the grainy meat of pear granting texture.

This thing has NOT had perfect provenance, by the way. I rescued it and a couple of its brothers from a liquor store–a pretty dark and cool one, but still–in about 2010 maybe? It’s been with me ever since, but I don’t have pitch-black 55-degree storage. My cellar is a bit more casual.

Gorgeous and generous in the mouth. Gobs of lush berry, dark bitter specimens of mountain gooseberries and those seedy little hard boysenberries that stay low to the ground so the coyotes eat them. Effervescent acids prod at the fruit furtively, making noticeable props but is no contest for the massive fruit core of ridiculous black cherry and German chocolate thick with black walnut but provides a late-model blood-orange zest convincing you this wine is HALF the stated age. The fruit never fades, still-abusive tannins gently attempt coup and succeed to an extent, but not really. Their little playful tussle is one of the most charming things about this wine.

To call this wine gorgeous would be an understatement. I think everyone gets the idea without me adding congratulatory and gushing postludes. So I’ll shut up.

2004 BENNETT LANE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.3

www.bennettlane.com