Welcome to our Wine of the Week feature where we will explore in depth and detail a current release wine that seriously WOWs us. From tasting notes to critic reviews, suggested pairings to winemaking notes, we wish to highlight a wine that you can buy today and enjoy to its fullest with a higher level of insight and understanding.
If you follow us on Instagram (if you don’t, it’s time to do so) you’ve seen our recent photo of the Topa Topa Mountains and Chief Peak dusted in snow. As Ojai locals, there is nothing that makes us more thrilled than to see snow on our mountains because 1. It’s absolutely breathtaking and 2. It means we’ve seen some rain. Luckily, we have more rain and cold weather in the forecast so we can continue to enjoy red wine and hearty meals. The wine we’re most excited about this week is our 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir from Bien Nacido and we’d wage a bet that you’ll be equally as pleased with our selection.
2015 Reserve Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Vineyard - $45 bottle, $36 wine club
Buy Now! On our website or in our Tasting Room
If Pinot Noir was a male contestant on the Bachelor, he would be the gentle, romantic and oh-so-handsome man in a classic blue suit your Mother always wanted you to marry. Instead of saying “I love you” to too many women, he would keep his heart sheltered and only reveal his true admiration and feelings when the time was right. Sounds perfect, right? Like this perfect Bachelor, Pinot Noir is adored by many, if not all, wine drinkers. In fact, Pinot Noir is the second most popular red wine varietal in the world (if you ask us, it should be the first).
Pinot Noir tends to be light in color, soft in tannin in subtle in flavor. With the right vineyard site (like Bien Nacido) and winemaker (like Dominic O’Reilly, our winemaker) Pinot Noir can offer a nose more beautiful than a bouquet of roses and a palate more graceful than a ballerina. And don’t forget the terroir! While fruity and delicate, Pinot can also offer an earthy, grounded flavor profile that allows it to pair well with a variety of food (mushrooms? Oh ya! See our pairing below.)
Bien Nacido, which translates to “well born” is perhaps our favorite vineyard site in the Central Coast. Planted on the gentle slopes of Santa Maria’s foothills, Bien Nacido is located 14 miles inland from the coast. Although similar to the distance of Ojai to the ocean, Santa Maria experiences much more marine influence and is therefore the perfect climate for fragile and sensitive varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Besides Bien Nacido’s location, there are other important factors that make the fruit from this vineyard so remarkable. Bien Nacido is one of the oldest vineyards in the Central Coast — planted in 1973, the Miller Family has carried out impeccable and labor intensive farming of this site, ensuring beautiful grapes year after year. We are proud to source from this wonderful vineyard and agree whole heartedly that with “well born” grapes, delicious and exquisite wine will ensue.
What the critics say:
91 points - Wine Enthusiast Magazine
"Earthy aromas of pepper spice, roasted meat crust and red cherry sauce show on the nose of this bottling from a new property in Ojai. The flavors are clean yet pleasantly rustic, full of cooked herbs, dust and rounded cranberry. It's light in body, soft in texture and easy to drink." - Matt Kettman, Wine Enthusiast
Oak: 50% new French oak
Aging: 1 year
Varieties: 100% Pinot Noir.
Appellation: Santa Maria Valley
Cases Produced: 96
This bottling of our Bien Nacido Pinot Noir comes from Q block, an old vine, hillside, South-facing planting at one of Santa Barbara County's best sites for Pinot. The fruit is always very delicate and fragile and needs careful handling in the winery to preserve its unique floral and red fruit characteristics.
The fruit was cold soaked only for 48hrs and pumped over rather than punched down (this practice we have found to be more gentle on the wines, as it does not crack the seeds and release tannin, and it preserves the whole berry fermentations). Fermented separately with two different yeasts isolated from vineyards in Burgundy. Lightly pressed and aged in traditional French oak barrels. This wine may be a bit fuller or fruitier than your average burgundy, but will be loved by any traditional wine aficionado.
Mushroom Risotto with a healthy addition of fresh herbs and pancetta
While this Pinot Noir is enjoyable today, it will continue to develop more earthy complexity as it ages and we suggest laying it down for 5 years.