Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wine & Cheese of the Week - Benzinger & Lamb Chopper

Since moving to Napa, our wine and cheese consumption has obviously increased. Figured I would start posting about some of our favorite finds in the valley. Enjoy!

Benzinger Family Winery
Benzinger Family Winery & Imagery Estate Winery

Benzinger Family and Imagery Estate are sister properties in Glen Ellen, about 10 minutes north of the main square in Sonoma. Imagery Estate is definitely the more laid back of the two. They're known for small-batch, more obscure varietals and everything we tasted was just really good, easy drinkin wine. All the wines are reasonably priced and they have a great little picnic area too. Here's what we liked, but you really can't go wrong with any of their wines:
2009 Sangiovese - $36
2008 Barbera - $36
2008 Tempranillo - $39
2008 Cabernet Franc - $38
2008 Malbec - $37
2008 Wow Red - $27
2008 Petite Sirah - $42
Benzinger Family Winery was really cool too. They are certified organic and the winery itself is absolutely beautiful. They're very family friendly and offer tours of the winery and farm on a little tram pulled by a tractor. The wines are also fantastic. Our favorites:
2010 Rose
2009 Russian River Pinot Noir - $28
2006 Oonapais - $50
We didn't taste as much at Benzinger but we hear their West Rows Chardonnay, Three Blocks, and Tribute are also very popular.
Cypress Grove - Lamb Chopper
The people over at Cypress Grove are cheese wizards. They make amazing cheeses and they are distributed all over the place. I was only familiar with their wide variety of goat cheeses (Humboldt Fog, Truffle Tremor, Purple Haze, Midnight Moon), but we recently tried their aged sheep's milk cheese, Lamp Chopper, and LOVED it. Lamb Chopper is definitely a crowd pleaser because it is kind of a tweener between hard and soft and isn't crazy overpowering. Super smooth, buttery and mellow. You will not be disappointed.