Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “Bien Nacido Vineyard”
WHY WE LOVE IT
- The owners of Bien Nacido vineyards had been selling off fruit for years in the 70’s. It was not until the early 80’s when producers such as Jim Clendenen, Bob Lindquist (Qupé Wine Cellars), and others convinced Bien Nacido vineyard’s management to sell them fruit in smaller quantities.
- The early 90’s saw the planting of “custom blocks,” with long-term acreage contracts for quality hillside vines.
- Today, much of what Au Bon Climat sources is fruit that has been planted “exclusively” for them.
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Elaboration: Traditional vinification. Fermentation occurs in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. The wine was made with 50% whole clusters, a technique used in Au Bon Climat Pinots of the past. Part of the production spends time in 80% new Francois Freres oak barrels.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of strawberry, cranberry, and rose petals with earthy notes that carry through to the palate. Baking spice notes, and layers upon layers of complexity.
2013 – 92 Wine Enthusiast
2015 – 91 Wine Spectator | 92 Wine Enthusiast
2016 – 92 Wine Spectator | 93 Jeb Dunnuck | 96 Vinous
2017 – 92+ Jeb Dunnuck
2018 – 92 Jeb Dunnuck
2020 – 91 Jeb Dunnuck
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.