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Bush-Field Estate

Bush-Field Estate Vineyards and Winery is located among 129 acres of sprawling hills spotted with California oak trees and other native brush. A 2.5-acre lake on the estate is a favorite site for spotting blue herons, egrets and migratory geese. Situated in the Sonoma Valley AVA, the vineyard is the highest in Sonoma County, some 2359 feet above sea level and high enough for an occasional drop of snow. 5 acres of Pinot Noir were planted in 1999 on this magnificent site above Jack London State Park in Sonoma County.

Proprietor Alan Benfield Bush is a successful businessman who was managing director of hair stylist education at Vidal Sasson and later founder of the ABBA Pure and Natural Hair Care line. He is a noted motivational speaker and product innovator in the fashion and beauty industry. In 1997, he sold his product line and bought his ranch, following his dream of owning a vineyard that began at the age of 19.

I tasted the most recent three vintages of the Bush-Field Sonoma Mountain Top Sonoma Valley Pinot Noirs (the inaugural 2002 vintage is sold out). The quality of the wine improved with each vintage.

2005 Bush-Field Estate Vineyards & Winery Sonoma Mountain Top Pinot Noir

13.5% alc.,$54 · A shy nose of red Pinot fruits and noticeable oak. Deep, roasted cherry flavors with oak toast, herbs and a hint of mocha java and mountain dust. Finishes with lively acidity. The best of the three wines.

2004 Bush-Field Estate Vineyards & Winery Sonoma Mountain Top Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $54. · Unusual aromatics with wet stone, cranberry, violets and even peach. Very ripe fruit flavors on the palate with currents predominating. Gentle finish.

2003 Bush-Field Estate Vineyards & Winery Sonoma Mountain Top Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $54. · Super-ripe fruit with plum and dark berries on the nose. Flavors tended toward prune and port. Marked drying tannins on the finish.

Bush-Field wines are distributed to retail stores in Northern California. The website is www.bush-field.com. For more information on Alan Benfield Bush, consult www.hairalanmandato.com. Winery guest suites with views of the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays are available to loyal customers at $500 for two days and one night. Ideal for two, but the suites can sleep four. Relaxing days can be spent hiking and swimming ending with a Jacuzzi under the stars.

Note: The winery’s blog references the expression, “good wine needs no bush.” According to James Gabler in Wine Into Words, “this is an ancient proverb, far antedating Shakespeare’s time where, in the epilogue of As You Like It, Rosalind says, ‘If it be true that good wine needs no bush, ’tis true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes, and good plays prove the better by the help of a good epilogue.’ The proverb actually means that good wine needs no advertising and goes back, at least, to Roman days. Why the bush evolved as the symbol of good wine is not clear, but is probably derived from the wreath of ivy with which Bacchus was crowned and which is often shown twined around his staff. Given the complexity and confusion of the modern wine trade, perhaps Shakespeare was right, ‘to good wine they do use good bushes.’”

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