Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “La Bauge Au Dessus”
WHY WE LOVE IT
- La Bauge Au-dessus translates as a “wild party up stairs”. The original bottlings were from the hillsides of Bien Nacido Vineyard.
- The quality of Le Bon Climat vineyard Pinot Noir was apparent within the first three years, so some of the better lots from both vineyards are blended each year to create another year of the “wild party up stairs”.
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Elaboration: fermented in 5 ton open-top fermenters, which are punched down once or twice daily. These punch downs breakup the cap of skins that rises to the surface into the juice so the fermentation process extracts the best part of the Pinot grapes. The wine is pressed to complete dryness and goes to barrel with moderate lees. Our “La Bauge” Pinot Noir is aged in 50% new French oak barrels made by Francois Frères in the heart of Burgundy in the small village of St. Romain. The wine was carefully racked in the spring and then aged another 20 months (24 months total). It was lightly fined with 4 egg whites per barrel, and then bottled unfiltered.
Tasting Notes: A wine of great aromatics and character showing cherry/cranberry fruit, rose petal, earth and spice. The key word is balance. A balance of oak and fruit, a balance of tannin and acid, and a balance elegance and intensity.
2014 – 93 Wine Enthusiast
2015 – 92 Wine Enthusiast
2016 – 90 Vinous
2018 – 91 Wine Enthusiast
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.