Ojai Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard 2018, Santa Maria Valley, California

“You can always count on Bien Nacido Chardonnay having loads to show about a vintage. In 2018 it felt as if time had rewound back to the ’00s. Winter was cold and provided generous rainfall. Then the transition to Spring was cold and wet also, so the vines got started late. Then predominately mild weather throughout Summer and Fall made for harvest dates about a month later than the previous few years. This 2018 manifests all that cooler weather with a more serious, earthy kind of expression. This wine ups the gravitas with a kind of flinty minerality girdling the wine’s powerful fruit. Stepping entirely away from tropical fruit, the profile here speaks to temperate coastal orchards. More apple and pear, accented by scents of fresh flowers and that curious bee pollen note we sometimes get here. There’s a strong, Chablisienne tension to the wine, which almost creaks in the mouth as the minerally structure shifts shape. A nice wash of lemon curd brings weight and resolves the wine’s tension, while minerals and toasty lees surge into the fresh and saline finish. Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Alc: 13% | Vinification: Barrel Fermented in Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 9 Months | Total Production: 877 cases