Bien Nacido – An Iconic American Vineyard

California does not have storied vineyards such as Clos de Vougeot or
Romanee-Conti in Burgundy, Clos Ste. Hune in Alsace and Clos du Mesnil
in Champagne. Certain vineyards, however, have performed superbly enough
– if over decades rather than centuries – to earn them special status
as America’s premier vineyards. One of those is Bien Nacido, at the northern end of the San Rafael Mountains in the Santa Maria Valley of Santa Barbara County.

The Miller family has owned this historic property – once part of a
Spanish land grant – since the late 1960s, and they have carefully
farmed it and helped build its reputation for premium wine grapes. But
they have never made their own wine – until now. This year they will
release their first bottlings under their own label.

I got an early taste when I visited the vineyard earlier this year. You can read about it in my feature in today’s Washington Post Food section.

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6 Responses to Bien Nacido – An Iconic American Vineyard

  1. Scott in Shaw says:

    We obviously don’t have the longevity yet, but there are definitely a
    few “storied vineyards” in America. I would count Ridge Monte Bello in
    SCM as one. Andy Beckstoffer’s To-Kalon in Napa might be another. I’m
    sure there are some Chardonnay vineyards, like maybe Hudson or Hyde,
    that might fit the bill. What do others think are some of America’s
    iconic vineyards?

  2. Hi Dave, just wanted to point out that Tantara wines are represented
    locally by Simon N Cellars where I am a sales rep. MacArthur stocks the
    ’06 Lindsay Pinot Noir. I can get any other Tantara product to a
    retailer of anyone’s choice.
    Thanks

  3. I would definitely agree with your short list, Scott. Some others that
    could be considered iconic might be Shea Vineyard in Willamette Valley
    for pinot, and Monte Rosso in Sonoma for cab and zin.
     
    Anyone else have suggestions?

  4. Allen Clark says:

    There are a lot of well-known vineyards that I don’t think belong in the
    same category as Bien Nacido because they’re essentially estate
    vineyards, sourced by only the owner or maybe one or two others (Lytton
    Springs, Live Oak, James Berry, Eisele, Jack London, Fiddlestix, Hayne,
    Three Palms, etc.).
    Some of the more prestigious multi-sourced vineyards that come to mind,
    in addition to those already cited, are Sanford & Benedict (Sta.
    Rita Hills), Stolpman and Alisos in Santa Ynez Valley, Garys’ Vyd.
    (which practically put Santa Lucia Highlands on the map), Hirsch (Sonoma
    Coast), and in Washington, Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, Boushey, and
    Champoux. There must be a few others.

  5. A thirst-inducing list!

  6. Scott in Shaw says:

    James Berry is definitely approaching iconic status if it’s not there
    already. Obviously the 100-pt WA score for the 2007 Saxum raises its
    profile even more. A quick count on CellarTracker shows over a dozen
    producers making wine from JBV fruit, so I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s
    an estate vineyard, but yeah, it’s best known because of Saxum,
    Carlisle and Copain.

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