Friday, September 29, 2017

Bien Nacido And Solomon Hills Wine Estates

One of my favorite vineyards is Bien Nacido, in the tiny Santa Barbara County town of Santa Maria. The wines made from those grapes speak to me like few others, and they speak of earth and and sun and fog. And earth. The Miller family sells 99% of the grapes they grow, keeping only the scant remainder to bottle for themselves. Their tasting room is well south of Santa Maria, in Los Olivos, the bustling little town that seems to be made up of only wine tasting rooms and restaurants. And that's okay with me.

The tasting menu opened with a Rosé of Pinot Noir, a Vin Gris, which was a very light salmon color with a somewhat oaky nose.  It belies the six months the wine spent in new French oak. Earthy and herbal on the palate. It was a great wat to shake off the heat of a sweltering late summer day.

2014 Bien Nacido Chardonnay $45 - Big, full fruit, with pronounced oak.

2014 Solomon Hills Chardonnay $45 - Very earthy minerals. Both Chardonnays were big, but not fat.

2013 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir $60 - Strawberry and black tea on the nose, with a floral elegance. The palate shows delicate tea notes, too. Not at all what I expect from a California Pinot. Very graceful.

2012 Bien Nacido Grenache $60 - Big minerals in this one, with a floral touch. Great acidity and mouthfeel.