Signaterra Three Blocks


Jack London's house

If you go to Glen Ellen, California, you’ll find a charming little town (really little) tucked into a hollow amid a canopy of big old trees.¬† There are two big names around Glen Ellen: one is Jack London. He lived and worked in the forest above the town, and the remains of his cabin form the heart of Jack London State Park. The other big name is Benziger. The Benziger family has been growing grapes and making wine in the area for — years, and they’ve set themselves apart by being leaders in sustainable, organic and bio-dynamic grape and wine making.

I’ve tasted a number of their wines lately, including this one from their upper tier, single-vineyard line. Signaterra Thee Blocks Red Wine 2007 is made from mostly bio-dynamically grown grapes from three¬† blocks (now I get the name) in their Sonoma Valley vineyards. The vineyards sit in a big bowl on the slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, where the aspect ensures maximum sun exposure. And what does that do? It ensures maximum ripeness and maximally delicious fruit.

I started loving three Blocks as soon as I stuck my nose in the glass. Actually, I didn’t even have to go that far — the aromas came up and hit me in the nose. There was sweet, juicy, dark berry compote mixed up with some cocoa and gentle cedar. It kept building, too: this is not a wine that’s done maturing…

The palate showed the ripeness and lushness of the fruit: I tasted boysenberry and plum, with hints of dark chocolate and vanilla. And the best news is what it wasn’t — it wasn’t flabby or overly jammy. Nice acid balanced the fruit and soft but structured tannins brought up the rear.

I think those of us who love this wine should thank the winemaker for some expert blending: the 76% Cabernet Sauvignon is softened just right by 25% Merlot.

This was my favorite of Benziger’s red wines. For my palate it hit the right balance of lushness and structure and offered power with elegance. Cheers!


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