2016 Clendenen Chardonnay Bien Nacido
We have been producing Chardonnay from Bien Nacido for decades and have our winemaking protocol down to a point where we know exactly what to do to maximize the potential of this grape from this vineyard. We have identified the best locations where Chardonnay is grown and have locked in our commitment. The grapes are hand harvested, whole cluster pressed (to minimize tannin extraction from the skins), and totally barrel fermented in 100% new François Frères barrels. What is different about this wine as compared to the Au Bon Climat version is style. For the Clendenen Family we selected the best fruit and used expensive, custom crafted, 350 liter barrels from Francois Freres where the wine was aged 20 months, then bottled unfiltered.
This is a big, creamy but balanced Chardonnay. It does show some muscle but it well defined. The aroma reveals this is obviously Chardonnay made in an old world style. Sweet barrel spice mixes nicely with a pear, citrus note from the fruit. It is 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. Seared scallops in butter with a touch of orange, roast chicken with rosemary are just a couple of favorites with this Chardonnay.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Score 94: "The 2016 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard is plush and enveloping, and yet like all of Jim Clendenen's wines, it also remains light on its feet. Hints of apricot, orange, floral-infused honey and new French oak flesh out in a wine of real textural depth and resonance. The 2016 is extroverted and fleshy, yet it is also holding back some of its potential. It is one of the many highlights in this range."