Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Santa Barbara County
WHY WE LOVE IT
- Au Bon Climat has used the same vineyards for a number of years.
- The blend is from five well-farmed vineyards: Bien Nacido, Sierra Madre, Los Alamos, Garey and Rancho Vinedo.
- The average age of these Chardonnay plantings is more than 25 years, which is old compared to most vineyards in the Santa Barbara County area.
Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Elaboration: After harvesting, the grapes are whole cluster pressed, and juice is quickly settled and chilled to begin barrel fermentation. The wine is dry and completed malo-lactic fermentation. The final wine is blended and processed during the following summer.
Tasting Notes: The flinty, stony aromas stand out while in the background is a hard spice note of clove and nutmeg from surlee barrel aging. Flavors and aromas of citrus and stone fruit, are finished with a beautiful lemon/lime zest note. This wine is intense, but light on its feet and is built to compliment food.
Beginning with the 1978 harvest, Jim Clendenen was assistant winemaker at Zaca Mesa Winery for three vintages, a valued training experience. In 1981 his vision broadened with three harvests in one year as Jim worked crush and directed the harvest at wineries in Australia and France. Three harvests in one year confirmed his masochistic tendencies.In 1982, Clendenen decided, along with Adam Tolmach, to start a winery dedicated to Burgundian varietals. Adam left in 1990 to pursue his own efforts leaving Jim solo at the helm.
Au Bon Climat (which means “a well exposed vineyard”) sources fruit from several of the most highly regarded vineyards in the Central Coast. These include Clendenen’s own Le Bon Climat Vineyard and estate plantings at the legendary Bien Nacido Vineyard – both in Santa Maria Valley, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, Los Alamos Vineyard (Santa Barbara County), and San Luis Obispo County’s Talley Vineyard.The winery has cultivated an international reputation for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Jim Clendenen, the “Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat, is recognized worldwide for his classically styled wines.