2017 Ojai Vineyard Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard

Year: 2017
Appellation: Santa Barbara County
Country: USA-California
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 93
Jeb Dunnuck: 94
Wine Enthusiast: 92
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
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"The 2017 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard has a gregarious nose of warm yellow peaches, crushed almonds, acacia and honey plus notions of sweet hay, Meyer lemon and crushed stone. The medium-bodied palate offers intense stone fruit and savory layers, with tangy acidity to oppose and a long, nuanced finish. 890 cases produced." (WA)

"The 2017 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard is a bit more tropical than most years. Layered and sensual, with striking balance, the 2017 is open-knit, silky and incredibly inviting. Weightless and airy, with lovely nuance, the 2017 is already easy to drink and enjoy." (VM)

"Leading off the Chardonnays, the 2017 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard comes from one of the top vineyards in Santa Barbara County and it offers classic, masculine, mineral-driven notes as well as pretty apple blossom, white flowers, and salty sea breeze characteristics. Beautifully balanced, medium-bodied, and seamless, drink it over the coming decade." (JD)

"Clean aromas of apple, pear, peach blossom and crushed white rocks show on the nose of this bottling by Adam Tolmach, whose career started in this vineyard many decades ago. There is strong chalky tension to the palate, where flavors of grapefruit peel and margarita-like lime mesh into green pear and lemon soda. -Matt Kettmann" (WE)

Winery Notes:
We’ve made Chardonnay from Bien Nacido pretty much the same way since 2000, when we stepped away entirely from using new oak with this wine. We ferment and age in oak barrels, but only in older neutral French oak. Our hands-off style, coupled with the cool climate on the Santa Maria Bench, makes for a clean window to view any vintage. In this 2017 that works out with a more rounded, creamy rendition than we’ve done in awhile.

2017 wasn’t necessarily a cool vintage or a warm one. There’d be stretches of mild, cloudy weather punctuated by shorter spells of warmth, so the vines would lag, catch up, then repeat through ripening. In the end, even with harvesting at as moderate of sugar levels as we do, our 2017 Chardonnays finish fresh while also having a curvy, bodacious feel, Bien Nacido most so. Blonde aromas of meyer lemons and nectarine predominate, touched up with the classic Bien Nacido streaks of bee pollen, iodine and minerals. The palate echoes the same in a creamy, mouthcoating way that closes with freshness. We haven’t seen this site this generous since ’12 or ’09. It’s laid back and delicious on its own, but the sneaky mineral prickle makes it perfect to match up with some richer shellfish or sand dabs.

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