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2021 Benovia Martaella Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

A native of the Russian River Valley, co-owner Mike Sullivan is the winemaker, intellect and driving force behind this winery. After stints at Chateau St. Jean, Landmark and Chappellet wineries, Mike garnered honors for his achievements at Hartford Winery. With their first commercial release in 2006, Benovia excels in handcrafting small lots of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 72 acres of prime vineyards. I’ve met with Mike on several occasions, and he is passionate and extremely focused on crafting impressive wines that represent a sense of place.

The Benovia’s Martaella Vineyard is situated in the heart of Russian River Valley in an area known as Laguna de Santa Rosa. The 58-acre property was originally planted in 2005 and then expanded in 2008. The 42 acres of vineyards are planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The climate is influenced by the fog from the Pacific Ocean, which cools the region down by as much as 40 degrees.

The 2021 Benovia Martaella Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is another glimpse into the depth of talent behind winemaker, co-founder Mike Sullivan. The medium ruby edges of this Pinot Noir offer up a graceful perfume of purple violets and a potpourri of savory spices. Within is a medley of red raspberry coulis, Morello cherries, red plums and lightly ground cinnamon. Between the layers of mouthwatering fruit is a dusting of sweet mocha, which lends to the creamy core and overall textural complexity of this wine. The tannins are ripe and ultra-fine leading to a seamless and memorable finish that lasts for minutes. Another great effort by Mike Sullivan and his team.

By W Peter Hoyne

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