Haute Wines: Maximus Crosses the Finish Line

The Roman Empire conjures images of power, authority and military prowess (think Russell Crowe in Gladiator), but what most do not know is that the Romans are single-handedly responsible for democratizing wine. With a black and white checkered flag in plain sight, Randy Lynch — entrepreneur, marketing guru and NASCAR race car driver — decidedly set his sights on “turning beer guzzlers in to wine drinkers one race at a time.”

After years of traveling in the Tuscan countryside, Randy and Lisa Lynch sought out to further engross themselves in their love affair with fabulous food and fantastic wine subsequently purchasing 10 acres of planted vineyards in Napa Valley’s Calistoga, its northernmost appellation uniquely situated between the foot of Mount St. Helena and the Mayacama Mountains. With the hopes of creating a wine that aptly expresses his passion for wine and race cars, Randy Lynch hired Rob Hunter as winemaker and in 2005 debuted the perfect embodiment of Maximus Feasting Wines, named after a second century oenophile and roman emperor. Bennett Lane produces three bottlings, Maximus Feasting Wine, Bennett Lane and Bennett Lane Reserve. Each wine is adorned with the emblem of a 2,000-year-old Roman denarius coin that pays homage to the history of wine and tributes the Romans for making Bacchus’s juice an integral part of daily life.

Wine is the thread that links our present with to a glorious past of supreme rulers, architects, philosophers and lawmakers. Leave it up to Randy Lynch and his enormous acumen to create wines suitable for an emperor with the gusto and speed of NASCAR, America’s favorite sport.


Bennett Lane “Maximus” Red Feasting Wine, Napa Valley, 2006 — Blending mostly cabernet sauvignon with merlot, syrah and malbec, Maximus exhibits the power and courage of a Roman Caesar. Aromas of roasted game and meat along with essences of blackberry, black cherries and cassis draw you into the glass. Soft, silky tannins make this fruit driven blend an indulgence as flavors of licorice, bittersweet chocolate and amarena cherries lustfully linger on the palate.  A wine as sumptuous as Maximus calls for a feast, perhaps a plate of “Cinghiale in Umido con Ginepra” (Braised Wild Boar with Juniper Berries) or a “Bistecca a la Fiorentina” (Grilled  Porterhouse Steak, Florentine-Style) is in order.

*Please note, Grant Hermann was recently promoted to winemaker in late-2009.