Santa Maria Valley
Some people get the wrong idea when I talk about making wines with better balance. It doesn’t mean the wines are going to be thin and insipid, and this chardonnay illustrates how pleasurable wines of balance can be. Our 2008 Bien Nacido is wildly aromatic, with pear and coconut notes, and despite having seriously high acidity, it comes across on the palate as rich and generous, a character I attribute to the vineyard’s age, a mature 37 years. Older vineyards are thought to give wines more length and intensity, and this is clearly the case here. We often have felt that this chardonnay can be a bit too much and have worked over the years to tip the balance away from excess and to avoid having the flavors too cloying. Since 2000, we have fermented and aged the wine in exclusively older French oak barrels to avoid the distraction and heaviness of new wood flavors, and we pick the grapes at reasonable sugars to keep the wine crisp and the alcohol in check. I think this one really works!
Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Alc: 14.3% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 10 Months | Total Production: 832 cases
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2008 Chardonnay Bien Nacido is gorgeous, vivid and creamy in the glass, but never loses sight of its essential minerality. The wine blossoms beautifully, with layers of citrus, white peaches and flowers. A vibrant finish rounds things out nicely. The old vines in Bien Nacido are mostly Clone 4. ” – AG 90+ Points
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Pale greenish yellow. A wild, pungent bouquet displays scents of melon, pear skin, tangerine, botanical herbs and anise. Sappy and expansive in the mouth, offering pliant orchard and exotic fruit flavors and spicy herbal nuances. Becomes richer with air and finishes on a spicy note, with a deeper suggestion of honey.” – JR 91 Points