2016 Pinot Noir "Knox Alexander"
Named after Jim Clendenen’s son Knox, this wine is from the finest lots of Pinot Noir from the estate Le Bon Climat and Bien Nacido Vineyard since 1998. These two vineyards, separated only by the Sisquoc River, have slow growing vines planted in well drained poor soils, which produce really distinctive Pinot Noir. Both vineyards struggle to yield much most years, but the small amount that is harvested is of amazing quality.
Vineyards: Knox is a blend of our two “estate” vineyards, Bien Nacido and Le Bon Climat. Both vineyards are in the Santa Maria Valley, with Le Bon Climat being located on the southern edge of this appellation. Le Bon Climat was planted in 1998 with low vigor rootstock in some well drained poor soil. This combination of low vigor plants and poor soil limit the crop size and slow ripening. The two blocks selected to be used in Knox are Block 2 and Block 11. Block 2 was planted in 1994 with a wide mix of clones, which are 103, 113, 114, 115, 2A, Mt. Eden along with some Pinot Meunier. Block 2 has a south/west exposure which is good for morning sun though many mornings during the growing season the sun is blocked by our Santa Maria fog. Our other premium block of Pinot Noir at Bien Nacido is Block 11 which is planted with clones 667, 777, 115, 2A, Swan and Jackson in 1997. Block 11 is a steep, hillside block with north/west exposure.
Antonio Galloni's Vinous
Score: 96 points "The 2016 Pinot Noir Knox Alexander is another head spinning wine in this range. The Knox Alexander is built on a core of Bien Nacido, and then supplemented with other sites that Jim Clendenen has planted over the years. Powerful, rich and also quite tannic, the 2016 is going to need at least a few years in bottle to fully come together. Even in the early going, though, it is very clearly a special wine with tremendous promise. I absolutely love the energy here. "
Score: 92+ points "Barrel fermented and aged in new French oak, the 2016 Pinot Noir Knox Alexander has a darker ruby hue as well as a beautiful nose of earthy cherries, forest floor, ground herbs, smoked earth. Medium-bodied, with good acidity and fine tannins, it has subtle background oak and will benefit from a year or three of bottle age and should keep for 15 years or more.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Score: 91 points "Pale to medium ruby, the 2016 Pinot Noir Knox Alexander features scents of dried cranberry and red cherry, orange peel, potpourri and hints of smoked meats over a core of wild blackberry and black raspberry. The palate is light to medium-bodied with spicy fruits, a great frame of grainy tannins and integrated freshness, finishing long. 975 cases produced."