Bernardus Vineyards & Winery

Owner(s) Ben Pon
Web site www.bernardus.com
 
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Bernardus Vineyards & Winery

The story of Bernardus Winery dates to the 1970s when Ben (Bernardus) Pon used to travel from his home in Holland to visit Carmel Valley and taste its wines. In 1989 he planted a vineyard and started his winery in Carmel Valley. Bernardus soon became well-known.

The vineyards span 50 acres and are overseen by vineyard manager Matthew Shea. Annual production is 50,000 cases of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc Cabernet/Merlot blend (Marinus) and Pinot Noir. Both a Monterey County and Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir are offered, as well as vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs from top Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards, and an estate Ingrid's Vineyard Pinot Noir.

There is also an associated deluxe 57-room inn and spa, Bernardus Inn, with the outstanding Marinus Restaurant two miles to the west of the tasting room at 5 W Carmel Valley Rd open daily 11-5.

Reviewed Wines

2012 Bernardus Santa Lucia Highlands Saignée de Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 569 cases, $24. Made from fresh pressed Pinot Noir grapes. As the grapes are crushed, a small percentage of the juice is blend off before it has a chance to absorb much color from the grape skins. The barely colored juice is then cold fermented in stainless steel in the winery’s coolest cellar to dryness. A blend from multiple Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards including Pisoni, Rosella’s, Sierra Mar, Soberanes, Tondré Grapefield, Fairview, Highlands and Paraiso. · Magnetic pinkish red color and clear in the glass. Lovely nose perfumed with strawberries, red cherries, mangoes, redwood and allspice. The wine is fresh, crisp and bright on the palate with flavors of strawberry, red cherry and cotton candy with a hint of citrus. Drink this wine slightly chilled with sushi for a big smile. Score: 88. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 336 cases, $55. A newer vineyard planted by Gary Franscioni on a hilltop at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Pisoni “clone” and “828.” Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of black cherry pie filling, plum reduction sauce and complimentary oak. Intensely flavored with layers of black cherry, black raspberry and plum fruit with an earthy underpinning. Bright acidity, balanced tannins and modest finishing length complete the picture. Score: 91. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Soberanes Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 312 cases, $55. Vineyard farmed by Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni and located adjacent Garys’ Vineyard. Pisoni “clone” and Dijon 667. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. I really liked the nose on this beauty featuring bright aromas of black cherry, blackberry jam, cassis, brewed tea and oak. The delicious fruit including dark cherries and blackberries really jumps out. Nicely composed with integrated tannins, and a lengthy, intensely fruity finish. This wine has broad shoulders but is refined. Score: 94. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 165 cases, $65. Planted to the Pisoni “clone” by Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni. Aged 10 months in about 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. A masculine wine with a notable earthy accent. Aromas of darker red cherries and berries and some oak spice. Full-bodied, filling the mouth with layers of deep red cherry and berry fruits, yet has a pleasing soft texture and nicely integrated tannins. The most extracted and structured wine in the 2011 Bernardus Pinot Noir lineup that will benefit from more cellaring. Score: 92. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 429 cases, $65. This vineyard was planted by Gary Franscioni and named after his wife. Pisoni “clone” and Dijon 777. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddishpurple hue in the glass. Highly aromatic and intoxicating, with scents of cherries, dark strawberries and spice. The delicious core of cherry fruit is accented with hints of cola and oak-driven mocha. Very approachable with harmonious tannins and a lovable finish. Shows off the typical red-toned fruits and femininity characteristic of this vineyard. A dancing Pinot. Score: 94. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 508 cases, $70. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of dark red and purple stone and berry fruits with some forest floor compliment. The fruit explodes on the palate with some fervor, yet with more delicacy in this vintage. Very polished and beautifully balanced, with superb fruit purity. A whiff of alcohol shows up on the finish. A sophisticated offering that is atypical for Pisoni Vineyard but reflective of the cool vintage: Pisoni unplugged. Score: 93. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »

2005 Bernardus Bien Nacido Vineyards Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 99 cases, $25. Sourced from two different blocks containing Pommard and 2A clone. Aged in 60% new oak. · Very nice garnet color. Heady aromatics of cherries, cola and spice. Nicely balanced with racy red fruits, supple tannins and palate-cleansing acidity. My favorite wine in this Pinot Noir lineup. Reviewed August 24, 2007 ARTICLE »