Au Bon Climat is a Burgundy centric winery, meaning if the grapes aren’t grown in Burgundy, then Au Bon Climat doesn’t make that type of wine. Wineries in Burgundy are limited to Aligoté, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay for white wines. Starting in 1990 Au Bon Climat made Pinot Blanc from old vines planted at Bien Nacido. Pinot Gris was planted at Bien Nacido, after experimental planting showed favorable results, in 1994. Our first Pinot Gris, the 1995 vintage, was made from these small experimental plantings.
Au Bon Climat started blending Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc in 1997. The percentages of each variety changes from year to year. The Pinot Gris crop at Bien Nacido was variable. Some years the yield would be three tons per acre and some years would be less than one ton per acre. We started buying Pinot Gris from El Camino Vineyard and Sierra Madre Vineyard in 2009, to get a consistent source of Pinot Gris.
Pinot Gris is the first grape variety harvested each year, usually the last week of August. Picked with low sugar and high acidity, our Pinot Gris is crisp. The Pinot Gris portion of the blend supplies the energy, while the Pinot Blanc delivers minerality and depth. The Pinot Blanc portion is from the well-farmed Bien Nacido Vineyard. Au Bon Climat is located in the Bien Nacido vineyard allowing us to closely monitor the grapes maturity and pick at optimum ripeness.