2013 Ojai "Bien Nacido Vineyard-Clone 22" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1218986 93 points Vinous

 Deep and resonant to the core, the 2013 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Clone 22 hits the palate with pungent red fruit, plum, smoke, licorice and sage. The interplay of rich fruit and floral/savory overtones is compelling. Veins of bright, saline-infused fruit round out the exquisite finish. The 2013 is all about delicacy, and it shows. This is sublime juice. The Clone 22 was done with 100% whole clusters. This is a strong set of wines from Adam Tolmach and Fabien Castel. In particular, readers will find numerous Pinot Noirs and Syrahs that merit considerable attention. I am less thrilled with the whites, some of which come across as excessively light, with less flavor development than is typical here. In recent years, Tolmach and Castel have dramatically reduced their use of punchdowns and now favor pumpovers and carbonic maceration with a greater use of whole clusters for their red wines. As always the malos proceed at a slow, leisurely pace in these cold cellars and racking is kept to a minimum, which means just once in preparation for bottling for the Pinots, while the Grenache and Syrah might see a summer racking in between. Ojai remains one of the hidden jewels in Santa Barbara, with prices that are exceedingly fair for the quality of what goes in the bottle. (AG)  (6/2015)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright violet color. Highly aromatic nose offers vibrant redcurrant, rhubarb and mineral scents complemented by hints of blood orange and fresh rose. Gently sweet strawberry and raspberry flavors show excellent clarity, with an intense Asian spice note adding complexity. Finishes spicy, pure, sweet and long, with fine-grained tannins coming up slowly. No excess fat here.  (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.