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 that 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. At lower sugar levels, we find these wines have more floral and spicy nuances. They are simply more aromatic. That powerful smooth textural sensation of wine at high alcohol levels is gone, 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.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.0% | Vinification: 15% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 15 Months | Total Production: 742 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2014 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard opens with exquisite aromatics. Sweet rose petal, red cherry, cinnamon, mint and white pepper are all laced together. Deceptively medium in body, the 2014 possesses striking aromatic nuance and tons of class. Polished, silky tannins wrap around the inviting finish. This is another wine that could use another few years in bottle. The 2014 is a blend of 40 year-old Martini Clone Pinot and younger 777 Clone Pinot, all from the east end of the Q Block, done with around 10% whole clusters.” – AG 95 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2014 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard is always mostly destemmed and it spent 15 months in 25% new French oak. It shows the classic, masculine character of the site in its pepper, crushed rock, black cherry, smoke and forest floor aromas and flavors. This beauty hits the palate with surprising elegance and purity. Fresh, medium-bodied, lightly textured and silky, it’s another outstanding Pinot Noir that will see its 10th birthday in fine form.” – JD 92 Points