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Bob Lindquist is a pioneer in Santa Barbara winemaking. He planted some of the first cool climate Syrah in California at the Bien Nacido vineyard in the 1990s. He became known as one of founding Rhone Rangers, demonstrating that Rhone varietals could succeed in California.
"Qupe" is a Chumash Native American word for poppy, the California state flower often found in the area. The Bien Nacido vineyard translates to "of good birth" and is part of a larger parcel, associated with an original California land grant. Given the vineyard's east-west exposition, the cool air from the Pacific Ocean flows into the Santa Maria valley and creates a perfect, natural air conditioning that keeps nights and mornings cool and the days warm. For this reason, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reign supreme here. And, as Bob discovered, so too does Syrah.
The Hillside Roussanne is considered the top wine in the Qupe lineup. A vineyard plot planted specifically for Roussanne based on Bob's direction and inspiration from the greatest Rhone vineyards.
The 2014 Roussanne Bien Nacido Vineyard Hillside Estate, from a block planted in 1997 with the Tablas Creek clone, offers up an expressive bouquet of white truffle, beeswax, preserved lemon, smoke and quince. On the palate, the wine is texturally glossy and full-bodied, with lovely cut, energy and concentration and impressive reserves of depth and energy. While this is a rich wine, it remains bright and succulent and I'd expect it to develop beautifully in bottle.
This is an excellent set of releases from Bob Lindquist's Qupé, which—like Jim Clendenen's Au Bon Climat—has settled into a stylistic groove with which readers who follow these wines will by now be familiar. These wines are both more polished and more oaky than the wines that made Bob's reputation, and while I wouldn't mind seeing a subtler touch with new wood, I have been surprised by older bottles often enough not to wish to bet against their aging potential. My "coup de coeur" is the Marsanne, available under natural cork from the winery, a cuvée that I suspect will really surprise with a decade of bottle age. I still vividly remember an excellent bottle of the 1993 enjoyed just under a year ago. ~93WA
The 2014 Roussanne Bien Nacido Hillside Estate is dense, rich and inviting, with terrific interplay of floral aromatics, layered fruit and structural underpinnings that give the wine its shape and overall feel. Bright floral notes, orchard fruit and mint all develop in the glass. Most surprisingly of all, the Roussanne retains terrific freshness in a warm year with drought conditions. The 2014 spent a total of 18 months in barrel. ~92VM
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