Benevolent Neglect, Whole Cluster Syrah Los Carneros 2017
Matt Nagy and Ben Brenner
An invigorating nose of violets, black olives, both fresh and tapenade and sweet loose leaf tea. Squashy mulberries, with a surprisingly lithe, blue and black fruited palate with a dark spiced element - dark chocolate dipped orange peel and pot pourri. Exceptionally smooth and complete, even at this young age. Firm yet incorporated umami tannins finish this extremely impressive wine. Lavish and lingering.
The whole cluster edition is only produced in the best vintages. Tiny quantities available. Matt selected equal amounts of fruit from the top and bottom rows of the vineyard, and fermented them without additions as 100% whole clusters, for greater tannic structure and depth to the finished wine.
Matt Nagy and Ben Brenner, the two immensely talented boys behind Benevolent Neglect both have a history and excellent reputation in the winemaking world. Matt previously worked for Maybach Cellars, a famous and highly regarded wine making family who have been producing premium wines for generations. During his time with Maybach, Matt produced some of California's highest scoring wines. Ben has also had an equally impressive career including time with Rutherford Wine Co, a family estate who have pioneered sustainable farming and winemaking in Napa Valley. Their first step together came when they secured the support of Les Madres vineyard owners John Painter and Jean Gadiot. To give a little history, John and Jean converted overgrown pasture land into what is now the Las Madres site - a beautiful VSP trellised, cool-climate Syrah vineyard with two distinct blocks, amongst a sea of Chardonnay and Pinot. This site is a serious labour of love, farmed entirely by hand and organically, with minimal to no irrigation. This vineyard is the source of their Whole Cluster Los Carneros Syrah. Nowadays at Benevolent Neglect, they work with a selection of vineyards that they farm themselves with the greatest care. Their philosophy is to be 100% transparent, mucking around with the fruit as little as possible. As they say : 'find the best quality fruit we can get our hands on, and then do as little as possible to it!'
Jamie Goode 94pts (2015) - So floral and expressive on the nose with some meaty reductive notes and some lovely peppery focus. The palate is fresh and complex with black pepper, a hint of meat and some olive tapenade character. Really nice varietal character: cool climate peppery Syrah with some incredible texture.