2012 Tyler "Bien Nacido Vineyard-Old Vine" Santa Maria Pinot Noir

SKU #1176071 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 More marine and mineral-laced, the 2012 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Old Vine is more masculine and Burgundian than the N Block. Black cherries, underbrush, earth and licorice all come together beautifully, and this beauty hits the palate with a medium-bodied, seamless and elegant texture that carries fantastic length and persistence. Give it a year and enjoy bottles through 2022. Justin Willett continues to knock it out of the park with these new releases, and few people in the Central Coast are doing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay better than this guy. These all lean toward the more focused, energetic end of the spectrum, yet they have solid mid-palate depth, vibrant fruit and classy profiles that keep you coming back to the glass. (JD)  (8/2014)

94 points Vinous

 Brilliant ruby. Heady aromas of ripe red fruits, incense and cola, with suave floral and Asian spice nuances building in the glass. On the palate, intense, mineral-accented raspberry and bitter cherry flavors are complicated by vibrant blood orange and spicecake qualities and a touch of anise. Fine-grained tannins give shape and grip to an impressively long, nervy, focused finish that emphatically repeats the mineral and floral notes. This wine should age well on its balance. Count Justin Willet among the many winemakers who have been more than pleasantly surprised by how the 2012 pinots have turned out. "They seemed to be all about fruit, really forward, when they were in barrel and when they first opened up, from their post-bottling shell," he said, "but over the last few months they've shown structure that wasn't obvious before." The fruit hasn't gone into hibernation; "there's just more spine and framework to them than it seemed initially." Willet told me that his goal is to make "red" pinots, not "black" ones, and that style is the true reflection of the cool sites he favors and from which he buys fruit. The same goes for his chardonnays, which he hopes are "concentrated, as they should be, coming from old vines in great vineyards, but with focus and life." (Josh Raynolds)  (12/2014)

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Varietal:

Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some RhĂ´ne blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5