This wine is 100% Chardonnay from Block Eleven at Bien Nacido Vineyard in the cool Santa Maria Valley. Block Eleven is a 6 acre custom block developed exclusively for Qupé in 1997 that is farmed organically although it is not certified. It is planted on a steep north by northwest slope so it doesn’t get as much direct sun, with the idea of getting more acidity and minerality in the grapes. The soil is clay with gravel and loam, and quite a bit of Obispo formation mudstone (white rock).
As always, this wine is made using very traditional, time tested wine making techniques…whole cluster pressed, complete barrel fermentation with 100% malo, and aging on the lees for the first year in barrel. For this wine mostly new Francoise Freres Burgundy barrels were used, with the balance being one and two year old barrels. After the first year the wine was racked, fined and then returned to neutral barrels for another 6 months, so 18 months total barrel time. It was bottled unfiltered.
Our Chardonnays from cool vintages are some of our best for the cellar. With proper storage this wine will age beautifully for 10-15 years and probably even longer.
Review: Score 93 points - Vinous
"The 2012 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Reserve Block Eleven is rich and voluptuous in the glass, with copious apricot pit, honey, chamomile, butter, spice and orange blossom. This is a decidedly flashy, buttery Chardonnay, but all the elements are in the right place, even if this style can't exactly be called subtle." Antonio Galloni
Review: Score 91 points - Robert Parker
"I loved Bob's 2012 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Reserve Block 11. This 100% Chardonnay saw 100% malolactic fermentation and 18 months in mostly new Francois Freres barrels. The best vintage of the cuvee to date, it offers terrific notes of ripe apple and orchard fruits, honey blossom, white flowers and that salty, ocean air-like minerality that's so common in wines from this region. Medium+-bodied, fresh, taut and energetic, yet still with solid fruit and texture, it can be drunk now or cellared for a decade."