Ojai Bien Nacido Syrah 2014 Front Label
Ojai Bien Nacido Syrah 2014 Front LabelOjai Bien Nacido Syrah 2014 Front Bottle Shot

Ojai Bien Nacido Syrah 2014

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  • RP93
750ML / 13.5% ABV
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750ML / 13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This syrah comes from my 20th harvest from our rows in Z-block at Bien Nacido. Z-block is the original hillside planting of syrah at Bien Nacido, so it bundles together the virtues of mature vines, cool climate, well-drained soils, and a south-west exposure that bathes the vines in that special (never scorching) Santa Maria Valley sunshine.Cool sites like Bien Nacido show a lot of differences from vintage to vintage, but one can expect a common thread running through each vintage, too. Here that’d be the ethereal and woodsy aroma of peppercorn, flowers, and herbal, ferrous animal notes that frames this wine from year to year.2014 was a drought year that was warm overall, but one that spared us of any unfortunately timed or excessive heatwaves. So the fruit provided exuberance without any expense of freshness and minerally cut. This wine provides focused flavors of cassis and dark cherries, plus all those deliciously savory signatures of cool climate syrah: smoked meat, spices, violets, and herb-marinated green olives.Much of that could be said of the previous 2013, but that vintage’s syrah is more coiled up and tense, while this 2014 is more outward and open-knit now. Though cellar-able as always, this Bien Nacido syrah impresses from the get-go with that wild, mysterious nature of gently ripened cool climate syrah.

Critical Acclaim

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JD 94
Jeb Dunnuck
One of the gems is the 2014 Syrah Bien Nacido, and it has the classic minerality, tapenade, violets and pepper of both the vineyard, and high-quality Syrah. Medium-bodied, fresh, elegant and lively, it shows off vibrant acidity and stunning purity. It will keep for a decade.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard is youthfully promising, wafting from the glass with a youthfully reserved bouquet of dark berries, grilled meat, tapenade and cracked pepper. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, with excellent concentration and a lovely core of crunchy fruit, but framed by fine-grained, polished tannins that lend this wine a certain elegance. It's still very primary, so I'd expect this to be long lived.
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Ojai, California
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Adam Tolmach went to UC Davis and studied viticulture and enology, and after graduating in 1976 he settled down on the property his grandfather bought in the Ojai Valley in 1933 to farm sweet corn and melons, selling them at a roadside stand. After two years of this satisfying, yet difficult and nearly profitless work he sought employment in his field of study.

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.

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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.

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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 Blends of Southern Rhône, 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.”

OJAOJAI14SYBN_2014 Item# 395668

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