Santa Maria Valley
Fabulous quality from the tiny 2011 harvest
The cool 2011 harvest gave us tiny crop at Bien Nacido, and the chardonnay ripened slowly and retained extraordinary acidity. So much so that by our usual bottling time in August the wine was not ready. So, rather than just following a recipe we reacted to the wine’s needs and left it to mellow in barrel until after the harvest. By December the hard edges softened and the wine came together just like I hoped it would.
The extra time in the barrel helped dampen the usually exuberant tropical fruit aromas we get from Bien Nacido. While that may sound negative it’s not: this wine has a certain “grown up” aromatic elegance of lemon peel and toast that pushes it away from simple fruitiness. The long time the wine spent in the barrel on the fermentation yeast lees gave us rich, sweet flavors that balance perfectly against the vintage’s striking acidity.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Vineyard: Bien Nacido | AVA: SantaMaria Valley | Alcohol: 14% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 10 Months | Total Production: 358 Cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“A juicy, layered Chardonnay, the 2011 Bien Nacido is another drop-dead gorgeous wine. Apricot, peaches, honey and almond notes flesh out on the radiant, expressive finish. The 2011 is rich yet impeccably refined. Adam Tolmach gave the 2011 a few months in oak to soften some of the contours of the vintage, a decision that has paid off in spades. This is another winner from Ojai.” -AG 95 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Beautiful, with the richness and minerality of the vineyard, the 2011 Chardonnay Bien Nacido is classic Chardonnay through and through. Offering of rich apple, musky peach, brioche, lavender, crushed stone and hints of toast, it hits the palate with a medium-bodied, rich texture that stays beautifully focused and clean. From vines planted in 1973, it’s a serious Chardonnay that has loads of class. It should drink well through 2019 and most likely, beyond.” -JD 93 Points