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Top 10 wines of the week


At least three of this week’s top ten wines come from the celebrated Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. Clendenen’s Nebbiolo may too; it doesn’t say on the label, but the likelihood is high. It’s the first Nebb to make it onto the top ten, and the best from California I’ve ever had. After that, the list is rounded out by three Pinot Noirs, three Syrahs and a trio of Chardonnays. Production on all wines was low, with none exceeding 835 cases. Laetitia unfortunately didn’t reveal production numbers, but my guess is that their Reserve du Domaine also was made in small quantities. You’ll see some well known names here: Jim Clendenen, Brian Talley, Greg La Follette, Brian Babcock, Dan Goldfield. Through life’s turmoils and upheavals, the old masters march on.

Au Bon Climat 2008 20 Years in the Shed with Bob at Bien Nacido Pinot Noir. $75, 75 cases, 13.5%. Santa Maria Valley. From Jim Clendenen. Bob is Bob Lindquist, proprietor of Qupe, who produces his wines in the same facility, located on the Bien Nacido estate.

Bien Nacido 2007 Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah. $52, 70 cases, 14.5%. From the Millers, proprietors of Bien Nacido, an inaugural release. Of course they have access to the best blocks!

Dutton-Goldfield 2009 Dutton Ranch-Freestone HIll Vineyard Pinot Noir. $58, 400 cases, 13.5%. Russian River Valley. Dan Goldfield at his best, in a superb vintage.

Babcock 2009 Upper Crust Syrah. $50, 145 cases, 15.6%. Santa Maria Valley. 100% Syrah. High octane, but balanced and lush.

Talley 2009 Rosemary’s Vineyard Chardonnay. $46, 207 cases, 14.5%. Always a favorite, from this great Arroyo Grande Valley vineyard.

Clendenen 2003 Brico Buon Natale Nebbiolo. $35, 450 cases, 14.1%.  Santa Maria Valley. An awesome wine, nearly eight years old.

La Follette 2009 Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay. $30, 835 cases, 14.2%. Sonoma Coast.

K. Furtado 2009 Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay. $29, 190 cases, 14.6%.

Sanguis 2008 Endangered Species Rhone blend. $70, 175 cases, 15.2%. Syrah co-fermented with Viognier and Roussanne. The label says “California” but I believe the grapes are from Santa Barbara County.

Laetitia 2009 Reserve du Domaine Pinot Noir. $40, cases produced not known, 14.5%. From the sprawling estate in the Arroyo Grande Valley, one of the coolest growing areas along the coast.

  1. Love this list Steve! Not sure why Sanguis does list their wines as “California”, as I don’t know of any vineyard sources they have outside of Santa Barbara. Thrilling blends!

  2. Steve–thanks so much for the kind words about the 2009 Rosemary’s Vineyard Chardonnay. I’m glad you enjoyed it and are spreading the word!

  3. Thanks, Steve, glad you are digging on the 09 kfurtado BNV CH! It is really all about that Vineyard…

  4. I believe Raj Parr has the Clendenen Nebbiolo by the glass at RN74 right now. It is a beautiful wine.

  5. Gracias Steve! Thanks for the noise on the 2009 Reserve du Domaine Pinot. 720 cases (sorry about that…)

  6. The ’01 Clendenen Nebbiolo is better than most Piedmont version I’ve tried at the same price level. And definitely varietally correct.

    I should try to hunt down the ’03.

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