2011 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir
Our Bien Nacido Pinot Noir comes from ten-year-old vines on the upper bench portion of the vineyard. The vines, Dijon clone 113 and 777, were planted between older Pinot Noir and have to struggle every year to get the nutrients they need. This leads to tiny yields (always less than two tons an acre without any green harvesting). On September 4, these grapes were picked at 6 a.m. at 50°F to avoid having to do any chilling of the fruit in the cellar. I used 40 % whole cluster in the fermentation, and the fruit went through a five-day cold soak before it began to ferment naturally. Punch down occurred one-to-three times per day as needed until the wine went dry and was pressed into French oak barrels (1/4 new).
2011 will go down as a very challenging year for California. However, sites that escaped exposure to wind during flowering, and later frosts, produced beautiful fruit. Also, growers who invested time and labor into their vineyards were able mitigate the challenging year at a great cost of wine quantity but massive benefit to quality. Bien Nacido had both of these going for it, and it was one of the few suitable Santa Barbara County vineyards for whole cluster in 2011.
On the palate the wine is very clean and elegant. It has beautiful tea leaf, and all-spice flavor, with a sweet core and a refreshingly long finish.
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous.com- 96 points, July 2013
The 2011 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard is weightless and totally gracious, yet also incredibly deep and resonant, with an understated intensity that only Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo are capable of. Dark red cherries, plums, autumn leaves, pine and anise all take shape in the glass. Savory notes add complexity on the finish. This is a dazzling, phenomenal Pinot from Gavin Chanin, and easily one of the wines of the year. Chanin fermented the 2011 with 40% whole clusters and aged the wine in 25% new French oak barrels. Drinking window: 2013 - 2021
Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate- 95 points, August 2013
The only red I was able to taste, and supremely elegant and perfumed, with an alluring, Burgundian earthiness, the 2011 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard has knockout aromas and flavors of underbrush, damp forest floor, ground pepper and hints of flowers that are all grounded by a core of sweet Pinot Noir fruit. Silky, transparent and elegant, it’s a knockout Pinot Noir that will delight for over a decade. Elegance, detail and focus are the buzz words here and this is well worth the effort to track down. Drink 2014-2023.