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2009 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard, “X-Block
Wine Specs
100% syrah
Santa Maria Valley
Vineyard Designation
Bien Nacido
bee-en nas-edo see-rah
5.7 g/L
Drinkable upon release (Nov. 2012), 20+ years ageability
Serving Temperature
55-60º F
Bottling Date
Label Artist
Chris Freire
Alcohol %
Wine Advocate

2009 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard, “X-Block"

90 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

“A classic Bien Nacido Syrah with its smoky dark fruit, mineral and pepper-driven bouquet, the 2009 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard X Block (100% Syrah aged 20 months in French oak puncheons) is medium to full-bodied, beautifully fruited and has a focused, pure feel on the palate. Outstanding juice...” -Jeb Dunnuck, August 2013

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$50.00 per bottle / $540.00 per case
$42.50 per bottle / $480.00 per case (Members)

"Bold, forceful aromas, more demonic than pretty, are themselves worth the price of admission. Rich, smoked meat with mint highlights, fresh dark berry and a spice note I couldn’t nail down—the warmth of clove but more herbal—mark this wine as distinctive from the first whiff.

The medium-bodied palate opens with pure juice, followed by an expansive seam of minerality, which then condenses becoming dusty with flavors of tart, dried berries. A luscious, peppery burst of fresh fruit returns to launch a finish that fades to distinct cranberry notes at terminus. A dance between freshness and desiccation marks this wine at this stage of life, revealing and concealing, coy about disclosing an essence. Brisk and insistent as it evolves on the palate, texture changes create a sense of friction, competing forces in tension,  holding each other in check like cool water swelling against parched sand. Tannins and acidity are so harmonically entangled that you really can’t pry them apart analytically.

There is still plenty of life left in this wine 9 years after vintage.

Exuberant in its austerity, with a heart that blooms coldly, its motion the kind of strident intensity well captured by Springsteen’s Born to Run. Score: 92" - Edible Arts blog by Dwight Furrow, Oct. 2018

Wine Profile
Tasting Notes
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.
92 points: “Opaque ruby. Wild, intensely perfumed scents of blackberry, fruity black pepper, incense and smoked meat. Spicy and youthfully fruity, with a supple texture and slowly unfolding dark berry preserve, licorice, candied violet and smoky bacon flavors. A distinctly wild rendition of syrah, finishing with sweet tannins and lingering smokiness." - Josh Raynolds, Nov. 2013
Vineyard Notes
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.
Production Notes
843 cases
Winemaker Notes
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.
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