Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Localization: Santa Barbara, Central Coast, Califonia, USA
Tasting Notes: Strawberries and blackberries' aromas slowly rise out of the glass. Over time, more of the anise and clove will mix with these other aromas. Currently, the wine is young with mouth-filling intensity and suppleness. Complexity will increase as the wine ages, but this wine should stay “fresh” for 6 or 7 years.
Food pairing: Like all Au Bon Climat wines, this is a food wine. In its youth, match this wine with lamb or dried meats. After a few years, as the flavors coalesce, it will pair better with salmon or mild red sauce with pasta. The winemakers have enjoyed this wine with many food choices from spicy Indian dishes to all-American sandwiches, and the wine worked well with most anything. The possible food pairings are almost endless.
The Domain: In 1982, Jim Clendenen decided, along with Adam Tolmach, to start a winery dedicated to Burgundian varietals in leased quarters. Adam left in 1990 to pursue his own efforts leaving Jim solo at the helm. Through careful re-investment from its own production, Au Bon Climat (which means "a well-exposed vineyard") has grown to over 50,000 cases annually.
Au Bon Climat 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, along with 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. In addition to his Burgundian-focused Au Bon Climat wines, Jim also established another brand, Clendenen Family Vineyards. This project of passion allows him to make artisan, small lots of distinctive wines from a wider spectrum of varieties in styles conducive to small lots. He has received high acclaim for Italian varietals particularly his Nebbiolo that has a five-year aging regimen in a barrel.