2011 Nebbiolo Bricco Buon Natale
In 1994 Barbera, Nebbiolo, Tocai Friulano and Pinot Gris was planted at Bien Nacido Vineyard for Clendenen Family. The stage was set to make high quality wines from Italian varieties in the Santa Maria Valley. The two best clones of Nebbiolo were planted, Lampia and Michet which has forked canes. The early years were not easy. The yields for both the Tocai and Nebbiolo were tiny. Once the vines got established and the proper pruning method was put in practice the yields and wine quality improved dramatically.
Once the grape growing was figured out, the winemaking was next. Nebbiolo is a lighter colored, high acid red wine that requires a number of years in barrel to “come together”. In the early 2000s no one in California was drinking or buying high acid, lighter red wines. This was the era of BLACK wines. Dark Pinot Noirs and highly extracted Syrah and Cabernets were the rage. This was a blessing; we were forced to keep our Nebbiolo in barrel for years. We started using 500 liter Hungarian Oak barrels for aging Nebbiolo. These larger barrels were better for long term aging. In 2006 we released our first Nebbiolo under the Clendenen Family label, the vintage was 2000. The wine had spent 5 years in barrel and one year in bottle. The wine was what we were looking for. The beautiful parts of Nebbiolo were shining through and the shrill acid and brutal tannins had all evolved and harmonized. The wine had balance, elegance and charm.
Score: 91 points Wine Enthusiast
"Dark strawberry, rust, tar and sandalwood show on the nose of this bottling, which is still in its infancy despite already being six years old. Bright and booming acidity slices through the sour cherry, cranberry, cedar and pine-resin flavors, framed by tense but not overwhelming tannins. Drink 2019–2031."