Santa Maria Valley
bee-en nas-edo see-rah
Drinkable upon release (Nov. 2012), 20+ years ageability
2009 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard, “X-Block"
90 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
$50.00 per bottle / $540.00 per case
$42.50 per bottle / $480.00 per case (Members)
Very peppery and minty, with excellent fresh acidity (another trademark of Bien Nacido Syrah), rich dark fruit, and moderate but firm tannins. Immense savoriness (somewhat of a Bonny Doon signifier), with an exotic herbal element, that rather subjectively reminds me a bit of chimichurri. NOTE WELL: The wine is exceptionally locked up (closed for business) for several minutes after opening, and will benefit enormously from decanting or even just sitting a half hour in a large glass; this is a great portent of the wine’s great aging potential. A most successful vintage for Bien Nacido Syrah.
Bien Nacido in Santa Maria Valley is a very tony neighborhood, vitaceously speaking. I have long (possibly erroneously) believed that the clone of Syrah planted in the X-block (the "Estrella River" clone) was in fact be identical to "Serine", the aromatic Syrah variant of Côte Rôtie. I now believe that it is a particularly expressive clone - certainly my very favorite of those currently grown in California - likely of Hermitage origin. But to the point, Syrah does its very best work when grown on very cool sites, which, of course, pace global climate change, still accurately describes Bien Nacido.
An exceptionally cool and elegant vintage, this bottling shows off the typical smoked meat/bacon fat character that typifies Bien Nacido. In recent vintages, we've been including a more substantial percentage of whole cluster fruit in this wine, and the stem inclusion does add rather nicely to the structure of the wine and perhaps an enhanced degree of herbal spiciness.
Food Pairing Notes
This wine calls out (bleats?) for roasted lamb.