The Wandering Wino Blog

Bien Nacido Vines

If you have had the pleasure of drinking wine from the famed Bien Nacido Vineyards in Santa Maria Valley of Santa Barbara County, then you know the fruit coming out is exceptionally special. Winemakers from all over California are lined up just waiting for the chance to obtain some of the States very best fruit. 

For nearly all of the 40 years the Miller family has been working the land of their vineyards in one of the nations oldest AVA's. During that time, the family had sold all of the fruit to select winemakers like Au Bon Climate, Qupe, Foxen, Kenneth Volk, Gary Farrell and Landmark. For many of these winemakers, the wines produced from the Bien Nacido Vineyards were considered amongst their very best wines if not the best. To date, the single highest wine score in Santa Barbara County belongs to a winery sourcing from these highly prized vineyards.

Bien Nacido Vineyards

Nicholas Miller

(Photo Above - Left To Right: Joshua Klapper (La Fenentre) Steve Heimoff (Wine Enthusiats Magazine) Greg Brewer (Brewer/Clifton) and Nicholas Miller in the doorway

As the Millers watched from a close distance so many of their customers produced world class wines. I often wondered if the day would come that the Millers would produce their own wine. In very recent years the Miller family has not only started prouducing their own wine, but under a few different labels.

J Wilkes Wine

J.Wilkes is the name of one of their labels. Jeff Wilkes had been working for the family in the vineyard for nearly 30 years when he sadly and rather suddenly passed. Jeff had started this label and produced some really fantastic affordable wines, some that are still in my cellar.

The Miller family decided to honor Jeff and continue the label that bears his name. The 2012 Pinot Blanc is a wine that captures you with refreshment and intrigue.   

This wine offers amazing milerality, wet stone, grapefruit, giant peach, and beautiful bright acidity. It took my palate a bit to determine, however there were notes of guava that held my attention. 

Stainless steel fermented and a wine that shows a true sense of place of this beautiful vineyard. This is the type of wine that will make you plan your meal around and excite you particularly on those hot summer days. Pair this with pan seared diver scallops with shallots, butter, sprinkled with fresh parsley. Sushi, grilled shrimp or Tai would also make excellent choices. Exciting and affordable wine.
Some of the wines produced by the Miller family can be tasted at events such as Garagiste, Pinot Days, The Chardonnay Symposium amongst others. 
550 cases produced 

 This sample was provided by the winery.