Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
WHY WE LOVE IT
- The first Oregon Pinot Noir under the Au Bon Climat label was in 1984 and the last vintage was in 1999 after the vineyard they had been purchasing grapes from was deemed no longer suitable.
- 19 years later, ABC Oregon Pinot Noir is back after discovering a ideal plot of land in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
- This fruit is sourced from Lingua Franca located near Salem in the Eola Hills.
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Elaboration: Partial whole-cluster fermentation. A cultured yeast, Assmanshausen, is used in the fermentation process. The wines ages in French oak (Francois Freres), 33% which are new.
Tasting Notes: The wine is loaded with aromas of ripe berries, both blackberries and strawberries. The underlying power and complexity are “under the surface” currently but will be apparent soon. The 25% of stem inclusion gives the wine a nice spice note, not seen in Oregon Pinots.
2018 – 90 Wine & Spirits | 92 Vinous | 93 Wine Advocate
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.