Ojai 2020 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
"We’ve made Bien Nacido Chardonnay from the same patch of I block since 1991, and these vines have always captivated us with their stark expression of vineyard and vintage. After a couple of cool and leisurely vintages where we got to hem and haw about when to pick, the heat of the 2020 vintage had us on our toes. Summer was generally on the warmer side, and occasionally roasty—luckily our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir was all ripe before the truly monstrous heatwave in early September.
Despite having to maneuver around these challenges, we’ve found that everything worked out beautifully! This 2020 Bien Nacido Chardonnay is a gorgeous example, showing a skosh of sunshine coupled with vibrant acidity and minerality that belie the climatic pressures of the year.
You detect a bit of the vintage’s sunshine in the radiant aromatics, which give effusive fruit notes of meyer lemons and crisp pear. You also see that the sunny richness did nothing to compromise nuance, as there’s great complexity with flowers galore along with earthy notes of white pepper and sea salt, all contained within a subtle frame of French oak (just 11% new barrels). The palate is full of lemon curd, apricots and salinity, and there’s great tension and dynamics between the rich, round immediacy of the wine and the crisp, minerally drive that propels it throughout."