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

2013 Bernardus Saignée Santa Lucia Highlands Saignée De Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 414 cases, $24, screwcap. A saignée of Pinot Noir that is cold fermented in stainless steel at cold temperatures. · Moderate pink salmon color in the glass. Aromas of alpine strawberry peach and fig leading to flavors of strawberry, blood orange, raspberry and citrus. Slightly creamy, refreshing and easy to like. Chill for most enjoyment. Score: 88. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

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 »

2012 Bernardus Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 4,773 cases, $35. A blend of several vineyards. Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels of which 40% were new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas trump the flavors in this very smoky wine. Scents of blackberry, plum, spice and tobacco lead to a mid weight core of dark berry fruit enveloped by smoky and spicy oak and black tea flavors. Easy too drink with modest tannins, but oak intrudes on the pleasure. Score: 87. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Bernardus Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.7% alc., 343 cases, $40. Dijon clones. · A unique bottling reflecting a special vintage and deserving of a vineyard designation. Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Exotic array of aromas including white grape, mango and lemongrass. Ripe and rich with flavors of cooked apple, lemon curd and caramel. Slightly creamy on the palate with a compliment of oak in the background. Score: 89. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Bernardus Sierra Mar Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.4% alc., 406 cases, $40. · Satisfying scents of lemon curd, grilled pineapple and oak. Plenty of lemon-infused goodness with notes of toasty oak and clarified butter. Welcoming tension and uplifting acidity. Score: 89. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Bernardus Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 225 cases, $40. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, yellow apple, toasted coconut and nutty oak. Robust flavors of lemon, peach, poached pear and toasty oak. A rich, California-styled Chardonnay with mature fruit flavors and plenty of oak flourish. Very silky and ephemeral mouth feel. Score: 90. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Bernardus Sierra Mar Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 453 cases, $55. “828” and Pisoni clones. Aged in 100% new French oak barrels of which 40% were new. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. This wine is big, bold and luscious, but tannins are in their place, and the wine is in impeccable balance. The mouth coating flavors of black and purple berries, spice and anise are imposing, yet charming. A winner. Score: 92. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Bernardus Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 451 cases, $55. 667 and Pisoni clone. Aged in 100% French oak barrels of which 40% were new. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of black raspberry, blackberry and oak are presented in a mid weight plus wine that is fruity but not complex. Nothing really stands out at this time and seems to need more time in bottle. A bit of alcoholic heat peaks out on the finish. Score: 88-89. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Bernardus Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 165 cases, $65. Pisoni clone. Aged in 100% French oak barrels of which 40% were new. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. Friendly aromas of darker berries plum sauce and subtle smoky oak. Very smooth and refined on the palate with intensely flavorful blackberry, black raspberry and black plum fruits backed by modest tannins. Impressive persistence on the glorious fruit-driven finish. The fruit really stands out in this wine. Score: 92. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Bernardus Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 418 cases, $65. Clone 777 and Pisoni. Aged in 100% French oak barrels of which 40% were new. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Inviting aromas of ripe strawberries, black raspberry, spice and floral goodness. Very charming, with plenty of black raspberry, plum and spice flavors that persist on the long finish infused with a plethora of dark berries. The wine’s modest tannins and restrained oak make for pleasing drinking now. Score: 91. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Bernardus Ingrid’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 124 cases, $70. This 3.5- acre estate vineyard was planted in 1999 with clones 667, 777 and Pommard. · Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. The wine is very shy and brooding upon opening with only cedary oak evident on the nose. Flavors of black raspberry and black cherry brighten the palate and exhibit staying power on the smooth finish. This wine will probably garner a higher score with more time in bottle. Score: 89-90. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Bernardus Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 448 cases, $70. Pisoni clone. Aged in 100% French oak barrels of which 50% were new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The brooding nose offers restrained aromas of blackberry, cassis and black tea. A bruiser with fruit that really grabs hold on entry, offering flavors of blackberry and cassis that build in intensity on the huge finish. The onslaught of fruit and tannins is daunting now and this wine should benefit from several years in the cellar. Score: 91-92. Reviewed February 8, 2015 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 »