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2012 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard, “X-Block
Wine Specs
100% syrah
Santa Maria Valley
Vineyard Designation
Bien Nacido
Harvest Date
bee-en nas-edo see-rah
5.8 g/L
Drinkable upon release (February 2016), 5-7 years ageability
Serving Temperature
58º F
Bottling Date
Residual Sugar
Label Artist
Chris Freire
Alcohol %
Wine Enthusiast
Planet Grape

2012 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard, “X-Block"

At the risk of sounding redoondant, this is one of the greatest Bien Nacido Syrahs in memory. 

91 Points Wine Enthusiast


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/ 750 ml

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

Wine Profile
Tasting Notes
The wine is an Oriental spice-box – sandalwood, pink peppercorn, bacon fat, with maybe a discreet suggestion of black olive. In short, all of the classic signifiers of Syrah. Lean and taut on the palate, built to last. Decantation highly recommended.
91 Points | Wine Enthusiast | "Very concentrated purple flowers aromas of violet and lavender are tough to crack at this early age, with pressed olallieberry, menthol and a forest floor tartness on the nose as well. The palate is quite tight, with espresso, underripe elderberry and plum-skin flavors, but the incredible energy and slight gamy character keeps it quite intriguing." - Matt Kettman, November 2017
94 Points | Planet Grape | "Medium bodied with fine, softly chalky texture balanced by juiciness. Dark earth, tar, iron, dry herb and black pepper notes balance mountain blackberry and black plum fruit. Decant/Aerate/Cellar."
Vineyard Notes
The Syrah from the Bien Nacido Vineyard is truly one of the great treasures of California. It is utterly unique from virtually every other Syrah grown in these parts (many, alas, so drearily alike in predictable ways.) Whether it is (in part) the unique clone found at Bien Nacido (known as the Estrella River selection), or the unique trellising system (a sort of quasi- Geneva Double Curtain) - the enormous number of buds on these vines seems to create a lot of very, very small bunches; it is not inconceivable that the small cluster size itself is a salient factor in the unique flavor profile - or the soil typology, or (most likely) a combination of all of these factors, these grapes and the wine we’re able to make from them consistently knock me out.
Production Notes
Over the years, we’ve gone to using a greater percentage of whole cluster fruit in our Bien Nacido bottlings, and in this vintage, it is approximately 70%. Whole cluster, aka stem-inclusion, is interesting because it changes the fermentation kinetics (slows things doon), as well as adds an interesting flavor component – tannin, spice and just the right (homeopathic) degree of herbal scent, known as garrigue in some parts.
Food Pairing Notes
Pair this wine now with meaty, savory dishes and aged cheeses, including roasted game, smoked meats, aged Gouda or Pecorino, roasts rubbed with Herbes de Provence, or dishes with mushrooms, including truffle.
313 cases