Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills
2963 Grand Ave. Suite B
Los Olivos CA 93441
650 ac – 590.000 bt
Bottle prize – awarded to wineries whose wines represent benchmarks in quality.
The Miller family began planting vines in the early 1970’s. Their grapes are highly sought after, as they have some of the oldest vines in Santa Barbara. According to Nicholas Miller, his family started this estate wine label to let “the vineyards speak through the bottle.” The very talented Trey Fletcher, a San Diego native, works as winemaker and general manager.
The two sites, Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills, focus on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. The vineyards are planted on steep hillsides with expansive valley views, and are framed by imposing rock outcroppings and high peaks jutting up behind the rows. Fletcher explains that everything is “farmed organically, but no, we are not certified.” However, they are SIPP Certified Sustainable, which is a demanding certification of its own. In addition to grapes, they have sheep, goats, cattle, and also avocados and blueberries, which they sell.
Fletcher strives to make “terroir-driven wines that really show off the site, with as little ego as possible,” and the results are excellent wines of great complexity. The gorgeous Bien Nacido Pinot Noir 2014 displays notes of juicy strawberry, hibiscus tea, and red cherries. On the palate there is mint, fennel, oregano, and wild berries. The Bien Nacido Syrah 2014 (Great Wine) comes from a vineyard inter-planted with 4% Viognier in the classic Côte-Rôtie style. The nose delights with notes of orange blossoms and a touch of barnyard. Cacao, blueberry, and blackberry linger on the palate with cigar smoke. The Bien Nacido Chardonnay 2016 (Slow Wine) is also not to be missed, it is made with spontaneous fermentation and the skilful use of oak allow pure terroir flavours to shine through in this beautifully crafted masterpiece of great finesse.
FERTILIZERS compost, manure
PLANT PROTECTION organic
WEED CONTROL mowing
YEASTS spontaneous fermentation
GRAPES 100% estate-grown
Images via https://biennacidoestate.com/