Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Riverbench Wines Sing to Me 
by Fred Swan
Credit Jeremy Ball of Bottle Branding People often ask me what kind of wine I like. I taste so many different ones, very good ones, that I can’t narrow answer with a particular variety, region or style. In the end, the wines I gravitate toward and really want to drink are those that sing to me. They tell me a story about a place, a time or a person in a clear and melodious way. They pull me in, make me want to hear (have) more.

When I first visited Riverbench in Santa Maria Valley a few years ago it was in transition. GM Laura Booras and the new winemaker Clarissa Nagy were in the first phases of a sparkling wine program. The current Pinot Noir and Chardonnay releases were well-made but largely produced by the previous winemaker in a style traditional to California over the past couple of decades.

This month, I was able to go back and try the newest wines. And now, with Clarissa having been working with Laura at Riverbench for about five years, the wines are singing. Every sparkling wine, every Chardonnay and every Pinot Noir is a bottle I highly recommend.

The songs vary based on vintage and vineyard site, as they should. But they also have a common voice, a voice that is pretty and gentle but also precise and confident. Riverbench and its lovely wines should be on everyone’s list of places to visit in Santa Maria Valley or wines to try at a restaurant or bottle shop.

Read my reviews of Riverbench wines here:

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