Bennett Lane Winery
A Favorite Stop for Succulent Cabernets
As the warmth of summer days roll into Napa Valley, a fool-proof way to make the most of the season is a day spent at the Bennett Lane Winery in Calistoga. One of our favorite stops, Bennett Lane is known for its succulent Cabernets, their signature “feasting wine,” Maximus, and for one of the best visitor experiences in the valley. Founded by Randy and Lisa Lynch in 2003, Bennett Lane’s off-the-beaten-track location and friendly tasting room offers a “secret gem” to Napa visitors and a great way to learn about – and try – some of Napa’s best wines in a more intimate setting.
Bennett Lane’s Cabs have continuously garnered critical acclaim. In the short period that the winery has been open they have received an incredible 60 scores of 90+ points between Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Year after year the popular blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah has won accolades from critics and visitors alike. The “red feasting wine,” as Maximus is affectionately referred to on the label, demonstrates owners Randy and Lisa Lynch’s commitment to making wine an integral part of entertaining with family and friends. The current vintage of 2012 is available in the tasting room – at $48 per bottle and 90 Points, this is the best deal in the valley.
Bennett Lane’s wines are crafted to be approachable, yet complex – or what owner Randy Lynch calls “the best of both worlds, meaning you can drink them today, but they are structured enough to cellar for several years. My goal is for us to make consistent wines – both in quality and taste – from year to year, so that consumers can trust Bennett Lane wines,” he says.
In addition to the elegantly appointed tasting bar, visitors to the winery can also experience their “Seated Tasting” option. This offering, available the year ’round, allows groups of 2-6 people to do a deep dive into the winery’s more exclusive wine offerings under the guidance of a personal wine specialist. Guests will be greeted upon arrival by their host and seated at a private table. The specialist will then lead the group through a tasting of four of Bennett Lane’s top-end wines. In this intimate and relaxed setting (a bit like having a personal wine steward in your own living room), there will be plenty of time for tasting and exploring each wine in depth. Moving at a leisurely pace, the personal wine expert will share the full story on each bottling and answer any questions regarding winemaking, fruit sourcing, cellaring and more. Priced at $30 per person, it’s a classic example of the intimate hospitality that Bennett Lane is known for – comfortable, relaxed, informative and above all, friendly.
The Signature Tasting Flight at Bennett Lane is $20 and includes four of Bennett Lane’s wines: 2016 Reserve Chardonnay, 2012 Maximus Red Feasting Wine, 2014 Malbec, and 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet enthusiasts can upgrade to their Reserve Tasting Flight for $40, and get a chance to try three of the wineries top tier Cabernets, including the Lynch Family Vineyard Calistoga Cabernet with less than 100 cases produced.
Be sure to put Bennett Lane on your short-list of must-visit tasting rooms as the production is small and the Cabernets sell out quickly. Visiting Bennett Lane affords tasters another rarity with a small winery – a likely run-in (and perhaps a last minute barrel tasting if you’re lucky!) with owners Randy and Lisa Lynch.
Bennett Lane Winery is located in an understated Mediterranean-style building at the secluded and beautiful northern end of Napa Valley, and is well worth the drive.