2013 Pinot Noir Le Bon Climat
Le Bon Climat is on southern border of the Santa Maria Valley AVA, overlooking the Santa Maria River. The cool Pacific Ocean air runs right up the Valley to Le Bon Climat. Most days the breeze from the ocean is evident before noon. The day time highs seldom get above 85⁰F and most days the highs are around the mid-seventies. Le Bon Climat was planted in 1997 with low vigor rootstock in poor soil. This combination of factors destined this vineyard to be slow growing and low yielding. Growing and ripening top notch Pinot requires keeping the tons per acre within balance. The soil, clone and rootstock combination at Le Bon Climat produces two tons per acre average, which is small. The yields are poor, but the quality is sublime. Most of the vineyard is planted with clone 667 Pinot Noir, with some 777, 115, 2A and even a little Mt. Eden clone.
After fermentation the wine was aged in 100% new Francois Frères French oak barrels. After aging for 24 months the wine was bottled without filtration. This wine has some bottle age, but it should continue to age gracefully for 10 more years. Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir is known for ripe strawberry flavors while still having good structure. The Clendenen Family Pinots are not simple fruit bombs. This wine has so much more going on, so many varied flavors all in one wine. This wine starts with aromas of root beer, green tea, black tea, cola, mocha and cherries. The accompanying flavors black licorice, clove, tea and spicy sausage. This is a rich wine, and the richness carries through to the finish. This substantial Pinot Noir loves meaty dishes, try it with any cut of veal or lamb.
Score: 96 "This bottling showcases Jim Clendenen's brilliance at making light wines packed with flavor. Rustic sagebrush, oak forest and animal pelt aromas meet red plum and alpine strawberry fruit on the nose. There's a salt and white pepper quality to the palate, where wild sage and more chapparal spice decorates the pomegranate and red plum fruit flavors."
Score: 92 "Also beautifully perfumed, with notes of sweet cherries, underbrush, cured meats and dried flowers, the 2013 Pinot Noir le Bon Climat Vineyard is medium-bodied, silky and polished on the palate, with a fabulous texture. The tannin is ripe and polished, it has good acidity, and should drink well for a decade. Like the Chardonnay, this was completely barrel-fermented and spent two years in new French oak barrels."
Antonio Galloni's Vinous
Score: 93 "The 2013 Pinot Noir Le Bon Climat is mid-weight, gracious and super-refined. Dried rose petal, herbs, mint, dried cherries, anise and wild flowers are all laced together in an effortless, silky Pinot Noir with tons of near and medium term appeal. The aromatics here are quite striking. The 2013 is built on precision, nuance and class."