Founded in 1982 by CA pioneer Bob Lindquist, Qupe quickly established itself as the premier winery in Santa Barabra County. Bob planted some of the first cool-climate Syrah in California at the Bien Nacido vineyard in 1997, which has since been thrust into the "Grand Cru" spotlight and is universally regarded as one of the best vineyard sites in all of California. He is 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 Block 11 is Qupe's "Reserve" Chardonnay. It is one of the best blocks in the 240-acre vineyard for Chardonnay. This wine has a 10-15 year drinking window.
Winemaker Notes: Another amazing vintage of this wine. Rich, complex, balanced. As always, this wine is made using very traditional, time tested winemaking techniques… whole cluster pressed, complete barrel fermentation with 100% malo, and aging on the lees for the first year in mostly new, Francois Freres oak barrels, then bottled after 18 months total barrel time.
I loved Bob's 2012 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Reserve Block 11. This 100% Chardonnay saw 100% malolactic fermentation and 18 months in mostly new Francois Freres barrels. The best vintage of the cuvee to date, it offers terrific notes of ripe apple and orchard fruits, honey blossom, white flowers, and that salty, ocean air-like minerality that's so common in wines from this region. Medium+-bodied, fresh, taut, and energetic, yet still with solid fruit and texture, it can be drunk now or cellared for a decade. ~91 Jeb Dunnuck
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