24 Mar Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Imagery 2019 Chardonnay, California
March is Women’s History Month and I set out each week to pick a wine made by a women . Luckily, I had no shortage of wines made by women. This week, while in the mood to sip an affordable white wine that balanced acidity with creaminess, I opened the 2019 Imagery Chardonnay, the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Imagery Estate Winery was founded in the early 1980s by Joe Benzinger. Joe is the third out of seven siblings in the Benziger family, known for their biodynamic, organic, and sustainable farming practices at Benziger Family Winery. Joe was working on blends and seeing lesser known grape varieties get lost in the blend. He began to focus on small lots that allowed lesser known grape varieties to stand out and called it the Imagery Artists Collection.
Jamie Benziger grew up between her family’s two wineries. While studying marketing at Loyola Marymount University, she decided that she wanted to work in the family business. She transfered to Sonoma State University to finish her marketing degree and added wine business to her studies. After working her first harvest in the lab at Benziger, Jamie realized she wanted to be a winemaker. Before she went to work for her family, Jamie worked in the wine labs at St. Francis and Bogle, traveled to New Zealand to work harvest at Villa Maria, and got her hands dirty in the field at Enterprise Vineyards in Sonoma.
Ultimately, Jamie’s best mentor was her father Joe. They worked together until Joe retired in 2017 and Jamie took over as winemaker of Imagery. In a short time, she was named the 2019 Best Woman Winemaker in the International Women’s Wine Competition and she was included on Wine Enthusiast’s list of 40 Under 40 Tastemaker.
As winemaker at Imagery, Jamie continues the creativeness that inspires the wines of Imagery. But, she also launched a new series, Imagery California. In this new collection, the idea is to work with traditional varieties but to add a twist. The 2019 Imagery Chardonnay is 95% Chardonnay with 5% Chenin Blanc blended in. The grapes are picked ripe and fermented in stainless steel. 20% undergoes malolactic fermentation and 20% is aged in new French oak for a subtle influence. The resulting wine has notes of apple and lime, as well as floral notes. It starts out crisp on the palate and ends with a creamy finish.
The Imagery wine labels are typically artwork by international artists. For the Imagery California series, the label is clean and also eye-catching. When you look closely, it looks like a drop of wine.
The Imagery 2019 Chardonnay is a Chardonnay with a twist that is easy drinking and only costs $13.60!