When I began this blog in November 2013, the Benziger Chardonnay was one of the first wines I reviewed, since it was one of my all-time favorites. Unfortunately, my readership was very low at that time and almost nobody read my post. Recently, Total Wines and More sent me a coupon for 20% off Chardonnay that I could apply to this all-time favorite and I could not pass it up.
A few years ago, my wife, my sister-in-law and I toured the Benziger Winery in Sonoma County. It was a fascinating place. Benziger has a commitment to natural vineyard management and sustainable farming. Special gardens are planted which attract insects and birds that eliminate pests thus eliminating the need to apply chemicals and insecticides. This is a standard that they apply to any vineyard that supplies grapes to their winery. It is very reasonable to expect this policy will result in more flavorable wines.
The Benziger Family Winery Series is their lowest priced group of wines and you can find them throughout the country at many retail outlets. The 2011 Chardonnay has tastes of lemon, pear, apricot and a slight amount of oak resulting from 6 months aging in Hungarian oak. I miss the small amount of "fizz" I found in last years version. All told, this is still one of my favorite Chardonnays that I will buy time after time.
The normal price at Total Wines and More for this wine is $11.99. With my coupon I purchased it for $9.59. I do not give a numerical rating to white wines since preference of style is such an important factor when selecting white wine. However, this is one of the best Chardonnays you can buy in this price range.