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Wine of The Week: Benziger 2015 de Coelo Sonoma Coast

In tasting Benziger’s 2015 de Coelo Sonoma Coast Rosé, I like the boldness and authenticity of this light, pink Sonoma County wine, right from the start — before I have even popped the cork.

It’s not just that this rosé of Pinot Noir was made with Biodynamically farmed grapes, something of a rarity even in the unconventional agriculture haven of Sonoma County. It’s the tiny logo and words on the bottom of the back label: Demeter certified Biodynamic.

Almost as many times as I’ve heard that a winery “uses Biodynamic methods,” or am assured that their vineyards are “mostly organic, but not certified,” I’ve also heard winemakers confide privately their reason for not putting “organic,” “Biodynamic,” or, heaven forbid, a logo of any such certifying agency on their wine label: It’s bad for sales.

Surprising? Likely not, even if you are a committed organic consumer. The problem is that “organic” has a crunchy image that doesn’t play in the world of fine wine — which is, no surprise, many years behind the retail food world.

It doesn’t help that the rules for certified organic wine do not allow even moderate additions of sulfites to protect the wine from oxidation. The difference is that Demeter certifi­cation does allow added sulfites — and nothing else — in Biodynamic® wine, which is also grown according to Demeter’s set of farming practices inspired by Rudolf Steiner.

Benziger 2015 de Coelo Sonoma Coast Rosé ($45) is grown in a single vineyard just five miles from the Pacific Ocean at Bodega Bay. Picked late, for this early vintage, the Biodynamically grown Pinot Noir was ripe enough to make a wine of deceptive strength, at 14.1 percent alcohol by volume.

Just a pale pink hue, a shade deeper than many a blanc de noirs, the wine exudes ice cream-cool aromas of strawberries and cream. I say deceptive strength, because with just enough body to offset the vibrant acidity, and a light fruit salad of watermelon and strawberry to tease the palate, this innocuous-presenting pink wine gains weight and momentum with each sip.

I won’t say that gnomes that live in vineyard stones were dancing on my tongue — but my last notes did read, “Wow, how strong was that?”

Find more info about wineries in Sonoma County here.

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