Friday, July 31, 2020

Bennett Vineyards & Wine Company | Bennett's at 5th St. Market Tasting Room

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Bennett Vineyards & Wine Company
199 E. 5th Ave #11 Eugene, OR 97401

Introductions are awkward. Sure, I email ahead & am somewhat expected during a window of time but there's always a risk of "I'm so sorry, doesn't ring a bell." That hurdle was cleared gracefully well & good by Madeline, who looked legitimately pleased to see me & in fact seemed to fully recall my discussed visit. She smiled broadly from behind a face mask. I do believe.

I most likely said something half sideways from behind my bandana, she stayed graciously lovely. Escorted my plus one & I to comfy club chairs around a glass table bordered in a slight rodeo-vibed rim. Lots of brown in the immediate there. Elsewhere were wooden brown & black tables & chairs. A bit of an art gallery look. White walls w/ built-in shelves highlighting wines and area notes of interest. Uncluttered. 

Plate glass front. Hardwood floors. Dark dropped ceiling. Track lighting. Very "tasting room." Comfy chic. A single colorful local bit of art hung on the wall. I didn't find it offensive. I understand there is live music on the weekends, do think I'll skip that. The bar counter, a big slab of a tree, highly lacquered w/ glasses & bottles racked behind it. Canned music playing in a neat mix of Yacht Rock & Grunge. Some more mod stuff once or twice. 

One other customer was present w/ his own plus one. He wore a fedora & an egregious amount of black. Asked a lot of questions. We won't linger there. I kept my professionalism as it were, as Madeline brought out wines one-by-one at perfect pacing. Explained them all to the utmost of appropriate extent. Much like an artist's study of a human hand, drawing it from this perspective & then that, I was pleasantly walked & worked my way thru Bennett Pinot Noirs.

2014 Cheshire Valley Estate Pinot Noir 
Smoky leathery. Nice oomph structuring nicer backbone. Not rigid but robust. Quite dry. Black cherry. Peppery cocoa earthiness. Nuanced complexities. Cherry cordial nose predominantly juicy floral. Award-winning, literally.

2015 Cheshire Valley Estate Pinot Noir 
Excitable precociousness to nose & sip. Tart straight away. Fruit and oak. Fresh. Crisp. Lively. Patent leather lip-smacking. Pantry spices. Boozy mildly aggressive bouquet. Brusk. I'd give it more time in the bottle to be wonderful.

2015 Pommard Select Pinot Noir 
Powdery smooth nose, bigly floral sachets. Sneaky dry, overtly savory. Complex, densely-so. Big maraschino cherry top-note. Pomegranate. Figs. Oak. Leather. Licorice. Smoky. Plush and lush and yes, quite posh. Lays a bit broad but not flat. Cushy lovely. (We took a bottle of this w/ us.)

2015 Pinot Noir Reserve 
Plum. Cranberry. Crisply complex af yet nicely smooth. Miles from frenetic. Athletic. Dances lovely. Caramel. Savory nose w peppery backbone. Wood structure, tobacco thatched roof. The cousin who attended art school.

Please allow me my Quentin Tarantino story-telling. Prior to this, we drove out to the vineyard in a bit of a 20-minute out-of-the-way slight miscommunication. There's a tasting room there, as well. A rather humble-looking place staffed with a nice older gent whose name escapes me because most names do. An unapologetically small operation. Friendly & welcoming. Cheerfully-so.

All told & back to 5th Street & the portfolio glimpse I was gifted: quite lovely. The winemaker's hand was felt but as guidance not as manipulation. Mainly a smooth & attainable unpretentious lot. Yet too, surprisingly good. Very good. Also, I'd say a great place to flood the basement of a plus one... if you leave the fedora on a Target rack & shut your mouth a tiny-some. 

I look forward to perhaps another visit & definitely recommend you swing by and tell Madeline (a great name for wine) that I said so & maybe even "hello." I simply cannot fathom how she &/or Bennett would or could disappoint.

::: very :::