Santa Maria Valley
We started making making pinot noir from Bien Nacido in 1991, and have continued to use the same rows and same vines in Q block for more than twenty-five harvests now. Q Block is located in the middle of the Santa Maria bench, a really unique alluvial formation formed by millennia of deposits from the Sisquoc River.
I chose this section years ago after observing that the vines there were endowed with a natural evenness of vigor, which is important for maximizing flavor from the crop. So our rows couple great soils with the site’s virtue of being just 14 miles from the cold Pacific Ocean. The slope here has the vines facing the full force of the westerly wind and fog, and the pinot noir here boasts a distinct character and fine balance from year to year.
This bottling comes from a vintage to remember; after three years of drought, 2015 provided that coveted drought trait of a small crop with small berries. Harvest came early, but bud break and fruit set were also ahead of schedule, so the growing season remained abundantly long for developing complexity.
This resulted in a highly individualistic expression with structure and nerve. The elegance and richness that Bien Nacido is known for shines through with ripe cherry and fresh strawberry flavors, elevated and lengthened by natural acidity, which close with more savory notes of earth, spices and wild herbs. While delicious now, this wine serves to reward the patient; this is one you’ll want to watch the evolution of over as many years as you have the discipline for
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.0% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 15 Months | Total Production: 742 cases
“A solid example of the vineyard, the 2015 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido offers that darker cherry, earth, herbal, and fall aromas and flavors that’s classic from the site. Medium-bodied, textured and balanced, with plenty of tension and length, it needs short term cellaring, but is a pretty, classic Pinot.” – JD 92 Points
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“Ojai’s 2015 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard is bold, punchy and racy. Even with all of its flavor intensity, the 2015 is wonderfully nuanced from start to finish. Sweet red cherry, crushed flowers and earthy undertones add the closing shades of flavor complexity. Drink this attractive midweight Pinot over the next decade or so.” – AG 93 points