2015 Calera "Bien Nacido Vineyard - 40th Anniversary Edition" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Elsewhere $36)

SKU #1438208 91 points Vinous

 An addition to the range, the 2015 Chardonnay Bien Nacido is a very pretty wine. Succulent peach, lemon confit, chamomile, orange peel and lightly buttered note all flesh out in the glass. The 2015 is an especially gracious expression of this famed Santa Maria site. (AG)  (8/2017)

90 points Jeb Dunnuck

 The 2015 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard from Calera is an exuberant Chardonnay that gives up loads of buttered orchard fruits, honeysuckle, and brioche-like aromas and flavors. These carry over to the palate, where the wine is rich and textured yet has racy acidity that comes through on the finish. This exotic, zingy effort will benefit from a year in bottle and keep for 4-5.  (10/2018)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Offering up aromas of apricots, peach and toasty new oak, the 2015 Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay 40th Anniversary Vintage is medium-bodied, rich and ripe, finishing with light grip. A pleasure-bent Chardonnay that harks back to an old-fashioned aesthetic and should drink well in the near term. (WK)  (4/2018)

K&L Notes

Winemaker's Notes: "Our debut vintage of Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay truly embodies the cool coastal climate of the Santa Maria Valley. The nose offers enticing aromas of Meyer lemon, citrus zest, and subtle brioche notes. On the palate, vibrant citrus, layers of lemon and pear are rounded out by hazelnut. This delightfully poised Chardonnay has a lush viscous mouthfeel leading to a beautiful finish."

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By: Thomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/1/2019 | Send Email
Overheard in the staff tasting room: “This wine shouldn’t say Calera on it. This wine shouldn’t say Bien Nacido on it. But oh my god, is it incredible.” I have to second that. Calera isn’t one of those producers I associate with Bien Nacido, nor is Bien Nacido a vineyard I associate with Calera. But Good lord this one turned my head around backward. Soaring nose with tropical notes that range passion fruit, banana, from wet slate to rich, roasted honeycrisp apple. The acidity is really punchy, probably a touch more than you would expect, but absolutely perfect for my palate. Elements of nuttiness and earth on the finish. What a ridiculously awesome find this is.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/1/2019 | Send Email
This one-off opportunity was almost lost! The wine was destined to go overseas to an export market before we tasted it and struck a last minute deal with the winery to take everything they had! A special 40th anniversary bottling from this California icon, the 2015 Calera Bien Nacido Chardonnay is drinking absolutely beautifully. The oak is now perfectly integrated and mellow with three years in bottle; the fruit and minerality are intertwined and persistence on the palate is elongated by a subtle hazelnut quality. Very elegant; lovely saline mineral component and concentration from the old vines. This is a seriously classy expression of one of my favorite vineyards in all of California...and who would expect anything less from Calera!
Top Value!

Additional Information:



- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.