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 Wine Enthusiast
"A blend of Jim Clendenen's vineyards at Rancho La Cuna and Le Bon Climat, this extra-bottle-aged beauty is a showstopper, starting with aromas of roast pork in a cranberry-mulberry sauce, hickory smoke, star anise, curry, and crushed slate. Intense but not biting acid pops right away on the sip, delivering deep sour cherry, licorice and chai-spice flavors."
Score: 92 points Vinous - Antonio Galloni
"A powerful, explosive wine, the 2014 Pinot Noir Le Bon Climat still has quite a bit of tannin that needs to resolve. Bright, red-toned fruit and expressive floral notes open up nicely. Deceptively medium in body, the 2014 offers good persistence and fine overall balance. Readers should cellar the 2014 for at least another year or two. "
Score: 92 points Wine Spectator - Kim Marcus
Very suave and finely textured, with elegant flavors of dried berry, cherry and wild plum that are filled with plenty of cedar and spice details. Forest floor accents linger. Dried mint notes show on the lithe finish. Drink now through 2022. 200 cases made. –KM