Benziger, Pinot Noir, Monterey, California

One of the best comments from Randy’s opening monologue on the menu at the Benzinger Wine Dinner was about the soup. He said “everyone in the kitchen disagreed on how to do it.” He told them to do it the way he told him to…

Paired with Mushroom Soup with Garlic Croutons

The soup was amazing. Earthy with a touch of salty. While it may look like “prison slop” as one of my dining companions called it (to which we all wanted to know how he knew…. he claim it was from Shawshank Redemption), it was truly delicious.

The Pinot Noir went well with the soup as it brought out the sweet of the mushrooms, but the garlic croutons killed it. We all agreed it smelled like grapes. But the taste left us wondering what we were drinking.

While the wine rep says he tastes a hint of smoke to it, as pinot noir grapes are thin skinned, none of us got that flavor. In fact, we got almost no flavor.

But that could be due to the fact that mushroom soup was so flavorful – it could have overwhelmed it.

Final Thoughts

All said, this is an easy to drink, if not exciting, Pinot Noir. It won’t go well with pizza and Monday Night Football. Maybe plain pasta with olive oil, a bit of truffle and some parmesan cheese, which is a great Tuesday night dinner. Which is where I’d put this Pinot Noir – solid Tuesday in price point and drinkability. But this is not a Pinot to pair with potato chips.

Washington wines ( esp Pinot Noir) are a better value and quality than California – hands down.

-A General Comment from the wine rep who said at $20/bottle and a choice between Cali and Wa, he’d take Washington every time. I happen to agree.

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