Au Bon Climat continues its homage to the many outstanding vineyards in Santa Barbara County with limited editions of its special designation Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in their “Santa Barbara County Historic Vineyards Collection". Since its founding in 1982, Au Bon Climat has sourced grapes from some of the most celebrated vineyards on the Central Coast. Some might say that Clendenen himself has contributed significantly to the reputation of these sites.
Bien Nacido Vineyard: Owned by the Miller Family, the 1970s saw Bien Nacido being developed as a commercial grape source with the Millers selling fruit primarily to large producers from grapes planted along the valley floor. It was in the 80s, with producers such as Clendenen, Lindquist, and others convinced the Bien Nacido to sell them fruit in smaller quantities. The early 90s the vineyard started planting “custom blocks,” with long-term acreage contracts for quality hillside vines. Today, much of what Au Bon Climat sources is fruit that has been planted “exclusively” for us.
If there is one characteristic that stands this varietal apart from other growing regions, it is in the complex aromatics that suggests cranberry, dried rose petals and earth. The Pinot Noir fruit from Bien Nacido for this wine is clone 115 from block 2. The wine was made with 60% whole clusters, a technique used in Au Bon Climat Pinots of the past. This wine possesses intense fruit character, baking spice notes, and layers upon layers of complexity.
Score: 92 "From Jim Clendenen's historic vineyard collection of wines, this bottling (from the vineyard that surrounds his winery) is light in the glass with aromas of red cherry, bay leaf, juniper and vanilla. The herbal attack is powerful on the palate, where oregano, sage and chamomile lift up the cranberry and pomegranate fruit."
Score: 91 "Concentrated red fruit and spice flavors are well-integrated in this suave style. Red plum and currant details dominate, with a finish that features a rich texture, showing hints of underbrush. Drink now through 2021." - KM
Antonio Galloni's Vinous
Score: 91 "The 2015 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard is a lovely, delicate wine endowed with real personality and class. A dollop of whole clusters brings out striking inner perfume and freshness to the sweet red berry fruit. Even in this freakish vintage, the Bien Nacido Pinot retains terrific energy and lift."