Bien Nacido is one of the greatest vineyards in California. The vineyard spreads over a large chunk of the Santa Maria Bench, the most prime vineyard land in the Santa Maria appellation. The property dates back to an 1837 Spanish land grant. In 1969 the Miller family purchased the property and soon took full advantage of its potential.
The vineyard combines a great site with an almost perfect climate for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean allows the cold marine layer in at night. Often we see temperatures in the low 50s at night and low eighties during the day. These are perfect ripening conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay because it allows a slow maturing process. Vineyard manager Chris Hammell, who has moved the vineyard into sustainable and organic farming, is among the very best grape growers in California.
I source my fruit from four unique sections of the vineyard. This allows play with different clones and microterroirs.
My Chardonnay comes from vines dating back to the original 1973 plantings on Bien Nacido. These old vines are crucial to the quality of this wine. They give my Chardonnay its unique mineral and nutty note.
The Pinot Noir comes from ten-year-old plantings of Dijon clone 113 and 777 on “N” and “T“block. These blocks are located at the top of the bench and have historically produced the best Pinot Noir from this vineyard. The wines typically exude classic Bien Nacido white pepper as spice and wild strawberry fruit.