Santa Maria ValleyCHBN

This is the 19th chardonnay we have made from the same rows of the same block at Bien Nacido. This also marks our 10th year of making this chardonnay exclusively in older barrels—a move that was driven by the desire to capture the essence of these 38-year-old vines without the distraction of new wood aromas.

What has changed is the way the vineyard has been farmed. We have done away with synthetic pesticides and herbicides and are now farming it organically. But that is not all. Under the guidance of Chris Hammell, the vineyard manager, our plot is being farmed specifically for the low yields we insist on. And what’s more, we are pushing the vines to mature their fruit at lower sugar levels. This is being accomplished by managing the drip irrigation to stress the vines, tricking them into putting all of their energy into fruit maturation at an earlier stage. These efforts have given us a wine that is lighter on its feet. It’s more refreshing, more minerally, and just easier and more enjoyable to drink glass after glass.

Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Alc: 13.5% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 8 Months | Total Production: 494 cases

Press Reviews

Antonio Galloni’s Vinous

“Ripe apricots, honeysuckle, mint and flowers burst from the glass as the 2009 Chardonnay Bien Nacido shows off its personality. Today, the 2009 comes across as very young. The aromas and flavors are still very much closed. Hints of spices and fennel emerge on the expansive finish, but the 2009 is still at least another year or two away from giving its best. The old vines (planted in 1973) give the Bien Nacido notable intensity and depth.” – AG 92 Points

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

“Light gold. Seductively perfumed bouquet of lemon curd, nectarine, jasmine and iodine, with a suave note of mace. Juicy, expansive orchard and pit fruit flavors are lifted by a tangy citrus zest quality, which adds back-end precision. Closes on an impressively focused, stony note, with excellent length. Adam Tolmach told me that these vines are 38 years old.” – JR 92 Points