Bien Nacido Estate Syrah 2018
The co-fermentation of Viognier lends a softer and more floral tone, which makes the Estate Syrah a perfect wine to open early in its life. Fresh violets cracked white pepper and blueberry pie dominate with a fresh herbs-de-Provence note found in the background.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
With a dollop of 1% Viognier, this superb vintage aged 16 months in (24% new) French oak. Pungent, earthy aromas of grilled meat and blackberry abound. Layers of dark chocolate, espresso, and dried violets show on a palate whose minerality holds its juiciness in check. Ripe plum and brown sugar are luscious with cedar and spice on the finish.
Splashed with 1% Viognier, this wine was grown on west-facing blocks 16 miles from the Pacific Ocean and aged 16 months in (24% new) French oak. Pungent, earthy aromas abound, accompanied by grilled meat and blackberry. The superb vintage yields layers of dark chocolate, espresso, and dried violets, while minerality holds the juicy mouthfeel in check. Ripe, rich plum and brown sugar are luscious, taking on cedar spice on the finish.
In 1969, brothers Bob & Steve Miller, the fourth generation of a Central Coast California farming family, found a piece of land they instantly knew had vineyard potential. Formerly used for grazing, it was part of one of the earliest Spanish land grants. However, the shale soil and unique climate from the transverse mountain range provided a lens into its potential.
The vineyard was planted in 1973. Bob and Steve called it Bien Nacido, meaning “well born” in Spanish, because of the passion and commitment they shared in bringing it to life.
All the wines are naturally fermented, with no sulfur additions until after malolactic has completed. The wines are never filtered or fined, and only the selections which represent the best expressions make it into the bottles.
The original adobe on the property remains as one of the few privately maintained adobes in California.
A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.
Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Central Coast wines like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”