2017 was a year to be wary in the vineyard, with weather wavering between bouts of cool and spells of heat. Those years require a lot of vigilance since they provide narrower windows to harvest the fruit at just the right moment. All worked out swimmingly this time though. Even somewhat more inland at Bien Nacido the vintage provided complex, caressing fruit that’s outward in a finely measured way.
There’s deeply flavorful fruit–even picked at moderate levels of ripeness the old Martini clones at Bien Nacido bring a powerful character of peak-ripe dark cherries. Just shy of Luxardo-like, this element benefits from the lift that comes from the relatively younger Dijon 777 vines. They bring higher toned notions of hibiscus and pomegranate, sort of making a mixed medium effect: young vines bring ethereal watercolors; the old Martini vines bring the richer impact of oil pastels. The whole package closes out late with spice, smoky tea and the fine herbal gauze of stem tannin.
Some will say that 2017 was a tricky year for Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County, but sometimes there are rewards for being comfortable with a moderate 12.5 percent alcohol ripeness. A monster heatwave came the first three days of September, and seeing that coming we decided most of our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay was ripe enough to harvest. We wound up with a terrific Pinot Noir that is classic Bien Nacido on one hand, and yet shows an interplay between texture and laciness that is unique from any bottlings we can think back on.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.0% | Vinification: 30% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 15 Months | Total Production: 628 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“Ojai’s 2017 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard is a pretty, gracious wine that will drink well with minimal cellaring. Dried rose petal, sweet red cherry and mint are all beautifully lifted in this very pretty and expressive Pinot Noir. The 2017 is exotic, beguiling and loaded with character. Half of the fruit is from Martini clone vines planted in 1973, while the other half is sourced from the more modern, interplanted rows of Clone 777 Pinot, all in Block Q, which lies at the eastern end of this large, sprawling ranch.” Antonio Galloni – 93 Points
“The lightly hued 2017 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard is also medium-bodied and tight, with pretty notes of bright cherries, forest floor, smoke, and violets.” Jeb Dunnuck – 91+ Points