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2016 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard

2016 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard
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Bien Nacido Vineyard gave us exceptional fruit in 2016. Moderate, consistent temperatures provided balance in the fruit as well as optimal ripeness. The resulting wine shows dark fruit aromatics, supported by anise and white pepper. Plum and wild berry integrate with Northern Rhône Syrah characteristics of cassis, tar, graphite and white pepper. This is a complex, bold wine that has a history of aging magnificently for up to 15 years and longer.

Wine Advocate  94 Points

Deep ruby-purple and with 3% Viognier, the 2016 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard has a wonderful nose of dried violet, cracked green and black peppercorn, black olive, roasted coffee, bitter chocolate and a core packed to the gills with warm black and blue fruits. Full-bodied, it has tons of fruit and savory layers, with very firm, chewy tannins and just enough freshness to lift that impenetrable flavor through to the finish. Wowza!  Drink date 2020-2035. — Erin Brooks

Vinous  94 Points

The 2016 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard is terrific. Drops of co-fermented Viognier and 30% whole clusters give the Bien Nacido a striking upper register and layers of nuance. The 2016 is powerful, yet it also shows quite a bit of detail. More importantly, it is absolutely delicious. Drink 2021-2031. — Antonio Galloni

Jeb Dunnuck  94 Points

While this cuvée was previously always one of the most flamboyant and opulent in the lineup, today it's become a more classic example of Bien Nacido. The 2016 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard, which includes 3% Viognier and 30% stems, reveals a deep purple color as well as notes of black (and some blue) fruits, ground pepper, iron, ground pepper, and salty, earthy minerality. Rich, medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced and layered, it has building tannins, good acidity, and a great finish. Give bottles 2-3 years and it will keep for 10-15 years. Maturity 2019-2034. — Jeb Dunnuck

2015 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard
Jeb Dunnuck  97 Points

The 2015 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard (there's 3% Viognier) is one of the inkier wines in the lineup. Aged 22 months in 28% new French oak, it boasts knockout notes of blackberries, smoked duck, lavender, bacon fat, and ample marine-like minerality and seabreeze notes. Gorgeously pure, full bodied, concentrated, and expansive, it's a brilliant, brilliant Syrah that has everything you could want from this variety. It opens up with time in the glass (I followed this bottle for two days) and can be drunk today or cellaring for 10-15 years.  Maturity 2018-2033. — Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous  93 Points

The 2015 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard is silky and polished, with no hard edges and tons of the personality that is such a signature of this Santa Maria site. Inky red fruit, lavender and spice nuances fill out nicely. A touch of Viognier adds perfume and attractive notes. This is the first vintage of the Bien Nacido Syrah done with whole clusters, an approach that worked beautifully.  Drink 2018-2025. — Antonio Galloni

Wine Enthusiast  92 Points

Tar, charred beef, purple flowers, crushed slate and elderberry jam make an attention-grabbing aromatic entry to the nose of this bottling. The palate is quite tart and taut, with peppery spice, rustic elderberry and new leather flavors. — Matt Kettmann

Wine Spectator  91 Points

Tightly focused and well-built, with blackberry and smoky meat accents that take on big but refined tannins. Best from 2020 through 2025. 350 cases made. — Tim Fish

2014 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard
Wine Enthusiast  93 Points

Lush, rich and lovely on the nose, this bottling shows vanilla, black currant, chocolate cake, cola and teriyaki aromas. The texture and flavors are much softer and mellower than expected from the bombastic nose, with smooth black plum, sweetened espresso and purple flowers. — Matt Kettmann

Jeb Dunnuck  92 Points

Violets, blueberries, iodine and incense notes all flow to a lifted, perfumed and exotic Syrah that has plenty of fruit, bright acidity and a clean finish. There’s just 310 cases. — Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Advocate  90 Points

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard has expressive black currants, plums and dried blueberries notes over suggestions of tilled soil, tar and peppered salami. Very big, full-bodied and rich in the mouth, the palate delivers dried berries and balsamic notes framed by firm, chewy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long.  Drink date 2017-2022. — Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Vinous  93 Points

The 2014 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard is terrific. Layered, sumptuous and aromatically deep, this is a totally satisfying wine. Beams of tannin lend energy and tension to the sage, black pepper, menthol, licorice and dark fruit.  Drinking window 2019-2024. — Antonio Galloni