In 1973, newlyweds Mike and Mary Benziger drove west and permanently settled in Northern California. Seven years later, Mike and and his brother Bruno Benziger purchased the historic Wegener Ranch on Sonoma Mountain in Glen Ellen, California. Hearing the Sirens’ call of the Golden State, over the next six years the four remaining siblings — Bob, Joe, Jerry, and Patsy, with their spouses — made their way to California.
In 1986, winemaker Joe Benziger first partnered with artist Bob Nugent to launch the Imagery Series of wines. This pairing of wine and art continues to this day, and permeates every aspect of Imagery Winery, including unique artwork replicated on every label. (Except for the wines shown here. More on that below.) The dedicated on-site art gallery features label artwork commissioned from some of the world’s most notable contemporary artists, and includes over 500 works by over 300 artists. Currently, around 60 pieces are on view in the gallery.
At any given time, as many as 35 artists are working on pieces that will appear on future Imagery wine labels. The artists are not limited by size, medium, or content.
Joe Benziger has dedicated his career to crafting rare wines from uncommon varietals such as Malbec, Tempranillo, and Lagrein. These limited-production wines are available to wine club members only.
However, that doesn’t mean Imagery is inaccessible. Following in her father Joe’s footsteps, middle-daughter Jamie Benziger is the winemaker in charge of Imagery’s relatively new and more popularly-priced collection of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The label is characterized with a “drip” motif, suggestive of both wine and paint.
Imagery Sauvignon Blanc 2019
This is quite pale yellow in the glass. It presents initial aromas of citrus, lemon zest, and honeysuckle. It . It greets the palate with those flavors and adds a nice dose of cantaloupe and a bit of apricot. There is none of the grassiness or cat pee that often characterize (or even mar) this varietal. Good acidity balances a surprisingly full mouthfeel. A hint of dry Muscat lends refinement and softness. The finish is bright and fresh, but short.
This wine would work well with Stir Fry Pork Cubes with Mushrooms and Corn, Sea Scallops Marinated in Citronette (a lemon and oil vinaigrette), or Indonesian-style Grilled Pompano.
Imagery Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
This Cab starts out with a nose of plums, prunes, and vanilla. Then come the flavors of blackberries and tart cherries, and cocoa. The wine is dry, but there is some of bing cherry sweetness. The blend is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petite Sirah, the latter lending a hint of spice and pepper. The wine is fruit forward and velvety soft, with moderate tannins and medium acidity.
Serve this easy-going red with Pancetta-wrapped Sausages, Finger-lickin’ Ribs, or Saffron Roast Lamb with StickyGarlic Potatoes.
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