Santa Maria Valley
I’d like to think our work could progress in a straight line, but there always is a bit of trial and error in crafting wine. You tack in one direction to achieve something only to find that you’ve gone too far, so you take a new sighting and cast off in a slightly different direction, hoping to achieve your goals. Perfection is never attained, but you strive to get closer to your aim.
In the old days of California wine, we grew big unruly bush vines that produced fruit which ripened unevenly. To deal with the uneven ripeness, we picked the grapes after the least ripe ones were ready. As viticulture progressed, we began growing the vines in vertical trellises that allowed all of the fruit to get the same amount of sun exposure, which evened up the ripening. Later, further refinements like shoot-thinning, lateral removal, and green thinning contributed to more even maturation. These techniques have allowed us to pick physiologically ripe grapes at lower sugar levels, and the Bien Nacido pinot is an example of what we can achieve. We find these wines have more floral and spicy nuances—they are simply more aromatic. However, that powerful smooth textural sensation that one gets in high alcohol wines isn’t present, and some will miss it. For me, however, these new wines of ours are fresher and livelier, making them a joy to drink and a pleasure to have with a fine meal. Every year I particularly like the wine we make from these old Martini clone Pinot Noir vines on eastern side of Q block. This is our 23rd Bien Nacido pinot noir from our section, and I think it is among our finest.
A wild spicy and animal note peeks up around the flowery rose-petal aromas that are typical of this site. Bien Nacido Pinot Noir is exciting because it has real originality. With a garnet color this pretty Pinot is balanced and has finesse. It exhibits a lovely perfume of plum and blackberry with a faint hint of spice and a long finish. It drinks deliciously now and will continue to evolve for the next decade.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.0% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 15 Months | Total Production: 735 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“Sweet red cherries, plums, orange peel, spices and mint meld together in a juicy, mid-weight Pinot that should drink well for another decade plus. Beautifully textured through to the finish, the 2013 is a real pleasure to taste today. The Bien Nacido bottling is a blend of Martini and 777 clones done with 15% whole clusters.” – AG 93 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“More classic in style than the Clone 22, the 2013 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard has lots of black raspberry, flowers and crushed-rock nuances as well as a full, layered, beautifully textured feel on the palate. I normally find something masculine and mineral-laced from this vineyard, but this 2013 is all polish and elegance, with rocking purity of fruit.” – JD 93 Points