Steve Tanzer 91 points - The 2008 Chardonnay Bien Nacido is gorgeous, vivid and creamy in the glass, but never loses sight of its essential minerality. The wine blossoms beautifully, with layers of citrus, white peaches and flowers. A vibrant finish rounds things out nicely. The old vines in Bien Nacido are mostly Clone 4. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018.
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2008 OJAI CHARDONNAY BIEN NACIDO
"Pale greenish yellow. A wild, pungent bouquet displays scents of melon, pear skin, tangerine, botanical herbs and anise. Sappy and expansive in the mouth, offering pliant orchard and exotic fruit flavors and spicy herbal nuances. Becomes richer with air and finishes on a spicy note, with a deeper suggestion of honey." Steve Tanzer 91 points
|Wine maker notes
|Some people get the wrong idea when I talk about making wines with better balance. It doesn’t mean the wines are going to be thin and insipid, and this chardonnay illustrates how pleasurable wines of balance can be. Our 2008 Bien Nacido is wildly aromatic, with pear and coconut notes, and despite having seriously high acidity, it comes across on the palate as rich and generous, a character I attribute to the vineyard’s age, a mature 37 years. Older vineyards are thought to give wines more length and intensity, and this is clearly the case here. We often have felt that this chardonnay can be a bit too much and have worked over the years to tip the balance away from excess and to avoid having the flavors too cloying. Since 2000, we have fermented and aged the wine in exclusively older French oak barrels to avoid the distraction and heaviness of new wood flavors, and we pick the grapes at reasonable sugars to keep the wine crisp and the alcohol in check. I think this one really works!
|The Ojai Vineyard, owned by Adam & Helen Tolmach, works closely with a dozen different vineyards on the Central Coast of California and produces wines from syrah, grenache, mourvedre, pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and viognier. About 6000 cases are produced each year, divided between 15 bottlings, most of which are vineyard designated wines.
The key to producing special wine is in the care taken growing the grapes. There is an inverse relationship between quantity and quality when it comes to grapes, so rather than purchasing ours by the ton, we have long term agreements with our growers to buy the fruit by the acre. This lets us culture the vines and thin the crop to our strict specifications, yet allows the grower to receive a fair return.
In the winery we like to watch the development of the wine carefully, yet prefer to do as little as possible. Experience has shown us that the least amount of moving, pumping, fining and filtering is always best. The ultimate objective is to show off the distinctive character of a vineyard site.