Foxen Bien Nacido Block Eight Pinot Noir 2018
Exclusively planted for Foxen in 1996 by Bien Nacido Vineyard, the eleven-acre Block 8 sits on the highest point and one of the steepest sections of this Santa Maria Bench vineyard. Upon harvest, the grapes are whole-berry destemmed into small, open-top fermenters as individual clonal lots, where they see a 2-day maceration. The wine ages for 16 months in French oak, of which 44% is new. The wine is bottled within fining or filtration.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This has a bright, acid-driven frame but also packs some punch, with a well-built core of steeped raspberry and blackberry coulis flavors laced with anise, black tea and incense notes. The long finish features serious drive and a very suave gloss of toast, which augments—rather than coats—the fruit. Drink now
Pale ruby-purple, the 2018 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Block 8 features scents of red cherries, potpourri, iodine and leather. The medium-bodied palate has delicate fruits, a chalky texture, bright freshness and appealing Angostura-like spices defining finish. Best After 2022
Santa Maria Valley lies mainly in northern Santa Barbara County, with a small portion of it overlapping southern San Luis Obispo County. It is close to the Pacific, and runs east-west, which means warmer air in the eastern end draws cool air off the ocean in the west, and brings it through the valley. This effect, combined with abundant sunshine, lengthens the growing season. The longer growing season leads to long hang time, which promotes both ripeness and optimal acidity levels in grape berries. As early as the 1970’s, Santa Maria Valley was recognized as being a superior source of wine grapes, certainly including Chardonnay and Syrah. But arguably the top variety here is Pinot Noir.
Originally a domain primarily of growers, including the Miller Family of the justifiably famous Bien Nacido Vineyard, this AVA is now home to over 30 wineries. Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir consistently offers full flavors of cherry, strawberry and raspberry, often accompanied by notes of spice, cola, vanilla and earth. They show impressive balance and elegance, as well as great versatility with food.