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.
Antonio Galloni's Vinous
Score: 94 points "The 2014 Nebbiolo Bricco Buon Natale is bright, precise and beautifully lifted. Kirsch, white pepper, cedar, mint and floral notes give the 2014 a super-classic profile redolent of Nebbiolo character. Medium in body and sinewy, the 2014 is a classically built, austere (in the best sense of the word) wine that offers tremendous varietal character. That's pretty much all there is to it." -- Antonio Galloni