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Chanin Bien Nacido Chardonnay Featured!

Chanin Bien Nacido Chardonnay Featured!

We’re honored to be featured in Lettie Teague’s article in the Wall Street Journal  on “The Five California Vineyards you Need to Know,” for our Bien Nacido Chardonnay!

Bien Nacido Vineyard | Santa Barbara

At nearly 900 acres, Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley of Santa Barbara is a great vineyard supersized. The cool, sprawling place features both hillsides and flatter ground and 15 different grape varieties, although its Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the most renowned.

The Miller family bought Bien Nacido in 1969, and the Millers have made improvements over the years. Its grapes are the basis of hundreds of notable wines, and a short list of their names reads like a roll call of Santa Barbara greats: Au Bon Climat, Qupé, Foxen, Sine Qua Non and Hitching Post, as well as newer stars such as Chanin, Longoria and Paul Lato. Some 35 producers turn out vineyard-designate wines, but as Nicholas Miller noted, about two thirds of the grapes purchased do not go into a wine with the vineyard name. (Every Bien Nacido-designated wine is tasted by the Millers to make sure it meets their standards; occasionally they’ve had to tell a producer it couldn’t put the Bien Nacido name on its label.)

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Bob Lindquist, of Qupé Vineyards, was one of the first producers to make a Bien Nacido wine, a 1987 Syrah. Mr. Lindquist said the vineyard is notable for its cool climate as well as its location and poor soil. “The grapes have to struggle a bit,” said Mr. Lindquist. (Grapes have more character and complexity if they struggle.) Gavin Chanin, of Chanin Wine Company, credited the vineyard’s management and viticulture. “Bien Nacido is at the forefront of farming in Santa Barbara,” he said. Mr. Chanin makes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the vineyard, and the 2012 Chanin Wine Company Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay ($35) shows the quality of the vineyard: full bodied and rich, with a firm mineral thread.