Ancien

Toyon Center Block
2020 Pinot Noir
Los Carneros

2021 Offering
Premiere Napa Valley
Auction 25 | Lot No. 5
Vintage

2020

Ancien

Toyon Center Block

Pinot Noir
Los Carneros

5 cases produced

Highlights

  • The Toyon Farm Vineyard was planted specifically for Ancien in 1998
  • The clay soils are shallow (two to three feet) with an impenetrable hardpan below
  • The block is sloped to the southwest for good drainage
  • Cool morning fog allows cooling of the grapes, slowing photosynthesis and developing ripeness

The South Napa (Carneros) location of the Toyon Farm allowed for this vineyard to be spared from the smoke that affected some of the 2020 vintage. We carefully separated the “Center Block” fruit into one-ton, open-top fermenters, employing traditional punch-downs by hand in order to achieve optimal extraction. About 5% of the fruit was fermented as whole clusters. Grapes, must and wines were moved to the barrel using only gravity flow. The wine is aging in an array of French cooperages, nearly half new, and will soon be blended and then gently racked only once prior to bottling. The flavors achieved from this special vineyard are always bright and expressively young, but mature and age beautifully over time.


Ken Bernards

Winemaker, Ancien

Winemaker, Ken Bernards

Rich experience, scientific outlook, artistic insight and continued growth.

In every field and craft, there are practitioners, those who follow the lead of others, and visionaries, those who always seek to push their craft and knowledge to the next horizon. Winemaking is no different, and in this field, Ken Bernards is widely acknowledged to be one of California's visionaries. Since his first harvest in 1986, Ken has remained on the leading edge of winemaking technique in California, using scientific experimentation in the vineyards and in the winery, while at the same time adhering to traditional, small-scale methods of winemaking, always seeking to allow the vineyard's character to speak through the wines. This exemplifies his winemaking philosophy: a delicate and ever-changing balancing act between traditional wisdom, scientific assessment, and artistic insight.

From the start, Ken demonstrated a tenacity for empirical analysis and scientific methods of questioning. During his first harvest (at Domaine Chandon), Ken focused on tracking grape maturity, and later published a paper outlining methods for harvest date forecasting. Upon completing his degree, Ken accepted a position with Domaine Chandon as a research enologist, or experimental winemaker. He was able to design and perform his own experiments in every area of viticulture and enology. During these years, Ken honed his scientific reasoning, learning to isolate cause and effect in the vineyard, in the winery, and, ultimately, in the glass.

Ultimately, though, Ken's passion called for more than just experimentation. He had come to value the importance of being scientific about decisions in the vineyard and in the winery, but a visit to Burgundy spoke to his artistic side, awaking a desire to make his own finished wines full of mystery and nuance, wines that express the individuality of each vineyard. In 1992, Ken made his first five barrels of Ancien Carneros Pinot Noir, marking the beginning an ongoing quest for great Pinot Noirs. He pursued his desire to work on a smaller scale, hand-crafting single-vineyard wines as the winemaker for Truchard Vineyards from 1993-1997.

From 1998 on, Ken has been making his own wines under the Ancien label. At Ancien he works exclusively with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir. This search for great Pinot Noir vineyards has led him to work with fruit from Oregon to Santa Rita Hills, and even from Morey-St-Denis, in the Burgundy region of France.

This same insatiable curiosity continues to lead him to seek out new and challenging opportunities, beyond those presented in his own winery. He has been a pioneer in the Coombsville/Mt. George area in the southeast corner of the greater Napa Valley AVA, and continues to be involved with winemaking, winery design and vineyard planning in regions as diverse as Oregon, California, North Carolina and Chile. All part of his ongoing quest to discover more and more about the science and art of making timeless and expressive wines.

Country born: United States

Years in the wine industry: 20-30 years

The Wine Huntress

408 North Wells Street
Lower Level
Chicago  IL  60654
312-543-4405

website


Premiere Napa Valley 2021 Wine Collection

Winery Vintage Variety Appellation Fanciful Auction
Ancien 2020 Pinot Noir Los Carneros Toyon Center Block 25
Ghost Block Estate Wines 2019 Red Wine Yountville Maratona 25
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