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.