2012 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard
From the famed Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley, the grapes were hand harvested, whole cluster pressed (to minimize tannin extraction from the skins), totally barrel fermented in 100% new François Frères barrels, aged for 18 months, then bottled unfiltered. One whiff reveals this is obviously Chardonnay made in an old world style. Sweet barrel spice mixes nicely with a lemon limey note from the fruit. It is surprisingly rich on the palate, and the classic Chardonnay flavors of apple, citrus and vanilla go on and on. This lively wine will go with wide assortment of foods. Lobster Pappardelle with chive butter or fresh corn soufflé with bacon and comté are just a couple of favorites with this Chardonnay.
Score: 90 Robert Parker - Jeb Dunnuck
"The ripe, sexy 2012 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard (fermented and aged in 100% new French oak) gives up lots of juicy citrus, buttered orchard fruits and a touch of saltiness in its medium-bodied, rounded, lively personality. It’s another impeccable white from Jim and should drink nicely for another 2-3 years."
Score 95 "Best Buy" & "Top 100 Wines of 2016" - Wine and Spirits Magazine
"Jim Clendenen made his first Bien Nacido chardonnay in 1989. He knows his way around the sprawling hillside and benchland vineyard better than just about anyone, and makes this exclusively from K Block, a bench of shale-laced gravelly loam that was planted to own-rooted gewurztraminer in 1973. The block was grafted over to chardonnay in the 1990s, leaving the roots intact, so the grapes continue to benefit from some of the oldest root systems in Santa Barbara County. The wine spent 18 months in new oak barrels, but you’d hardly know it—the intensity of the fruit is the first and last impression, fresh and clean as a breeze through an orchard, suggesting orange blossoms, peach pits and pollen. The wood feels more like the detailing of the wine than the frame, polishing the fruit into a satiny, harmonious form. This is a California chardonnay that will last ten years or more in the cellar—vinous, energetic and deep."