Ojai Bien Nacido Pinot Noir 2017
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.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Pale to medium ruby, the 2017 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard opens with savory aromas of charcuterie, tree bark and underbrush with pomegranate, cranberry, Earl Grey tea leaves and a spicy vein. The light to medium bodied-palate is quietly intense, with delicate, pure fruit flavors supported by soft, grainy tannins and integrated freshness, finishing long and earthy. 628 cases produced.
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. It has good acidity and is need of 3-4 years of bottle age. Rating : 91+
Adam had planted a vineyard in Ojai to Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc and had begun producing wine from that fruit in 1983. When the collaboration with Clendenen ended he concentrated all his attention on The Ojai Vineyard to further explore the infinite details of his craft.
Looking back over the last 25 years, one can see the development of The Ojai Vineyard came in three distinct phases. In the beginning it was lots of fun discovering the budding Santa Barbara County, experimenting with new plantings, new areas, and a wide selection of varietals; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and other Rhone varietals. Back in 1983 the vines were grown without much care in what was called a California sprawl. It took years to get growers to move towards progressive practices like drip irrigation and vertical trellising to improved wine grape quality.
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 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.