92 Insider Points
Good - Wine Enthusiast
The 2013 Chardonnay from Twenty Bench is a round and voluptious wine, loaded with lemon custard and melon overtones. The palate has a bright acidity that helps balance the sweet fruit and vanilla from the oak. Enjoy now through 2018. - DZ Aug 2017
"There's a world of lemon chiffon and vanilla crème brûlée in this wine, both aromatically and in taste. Medium weight and well-balanced, it delivers a hit of tart lemon on the finish." - Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast
Napa Valley, CA
“There's a world of lemon chiffon and vanilla crème brûlée in this wine, both aromatically and in taste. Medium weight and well-balanced,” writes the Wine Enthusiast of this bargain boutique Chardonnay sourced from a hush hush 10-acre vineyard on high-altitude benchland (at 1,420 feet, to be precise) above the Napa Valley.
The guys behind this value, Chris Nickolopoulos and Elijah Pfister, are lucky to call many of the Valley’s best growers and winery owners friends. By selecting fruit row by row and finished wine barrel by barrel, they’ve collected quite a following for beautiful, small-production wines without the pretense or pretentious price.
Crisp stone fruit and ripe papaya play off secondary notes of vanilla bean and lemon in this Napa white, with a finish that would impress your fussiest Chard drinker. The Twenty Bench is neither an “buttery oak bomb” nor an austere, tart style--but a fully harmonized version squarely in the middle. Lovely on its own, this easy-to-appreciate white is a great match for chicken, fish or creamy pastas.
Four reasons we love it:
- While we cannot name the estate from which this Chardonnay was sourced, we can say that the site consists of Aiken Loam soil, a deep, well-draining terroir that comes from ancient volcanic rock and happens to be ideal for grape vines.
- In order to bring out all of Chardonnay’s rich, multi-layered character, this wine contains five distinct Chardonnay clones: Dijon 96, Dijon 76 and Weimer Burgundian Selection make for tropical, creamy flavors and a long, opulent finish while clones Prosser 15 and Martini 4 introduce a welcome wash of vibrant acidity and toothsome minerals.
- Balanced and elegant, this Chard was aged in barrel, of which just 30-33% was new. And partial malolactic fermentation creates body while maintaining brightness and lift.
- Owners Chris Nickolopoulos and Elijah Pfister met through their respective wives, who were college roommates back in the day.
"The 2013 Twenty Bench Chardonnay showcases a bouquet of pear and fresh stone fruits. Flavors of lightly sweetened papaya and mango co-mingle with aromas of vanilla that linger through the lengthy and balanced finish. Excellent for quaffing on its own or serving with a wide array of dishes from roast chicken or fish dishes to pasta." - Winemaker
Our Twenty Bench brand was launched in the fall of 2000 when we secured 20 tons of exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from a neighbor’s Napa Valley vineyard. Our mission for the past 13 years has been to produce a Napa Valley Cab without the marketing (and price) hype of “luxury” or “boutique.” Quite simply, we wanted to provide a great wine at a fair price and the popularity of Twenty Bench Cabernet Sauvignon confirms that we continue to achieve our goal.
Now, 13 years later, we are expanding our scope to include a Napa Valley Chardonnay with the same
purpose: while many great Napa Valley Chardonnays are, because of cost, special occasion wines, we present ours priced for everyday enjoyment.
We suggest pariing this wine with a wide array of dishes including bay scallop chowder, shrimp scampi pasta, stuffed chicken marsala, and baked salmon.