2016 Qupe Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vnyd Y Block Santa Barbara County

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About the Wine

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.

In 2005, the 15-acre Block Y vineyard was planted using classic California Chardonnay clones along with two clones from Burgundy. Today, this vineyard boasts some of the most impressive Chardonnay's from California, rivaling some of the greats of Burgundy. Qupe uses one of the best coopers in the world, François Fréres, in sourcing their oak barrels (20% new French Oak). This cool climate Chardonnay is what Chardonnay should taste like, fresh fruit, mouth-watering acidity, graceful balance, and a strong finish. 

Winemaker Notes: This is a classic cool-climate Chardonnay made in a traditional, balanced style. On the nose, find sharp aromas of citrus zest, green apples, and pears, with just a hint of vanilla and oak, followed by naturally fresh, crisp acidity balanced with a mouth-coating viscosity from aging on the lees. Completely dry, this is an elegantly balanced and structured Chardonnay.


While this wine’s primary fruit hails from the 15-acre “Y” Block planted exclusively for Qupé, grapes are also sourced from Bien Nacido Vineyards in Santa Maria Valley. Winemaker Bob Lindquist goes “barreldirty,” his reference to aging on the lees for a fair amount of time (in this case, nine months). He uses Burgundy and new Syrah barrels for fermentation purposes, allowing for more new oak while “taking the edge off the barrel when used for Syrah.” Following a nose of caramel apple and Bosc pears, the oak notes emerge alongside flavors offering that sensual and textural leesy character. Verbena and ripe pineapple stage themselves on the palate’s round and buoyant texture, and the acidity manages to be both opulent and racy. ~93TA

The 2016 Chardonnay Y Block has a pretty nose of orange blossom, honey toast and toasted hazelnut with pie crust, warm peaches, baked apples and stony hints. Medium to full-bodied, it has good intensity of savory fruits with tangy freshness and a long finish. ~91WA

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