Jim Clendenen’s Le Bon Climat Vineyard was developed in 1997. The layout of the vineyard is a mesa which spills down a hillside to another flat parcel. The top mesa was planted to all Pinot Noir except for a small portion on the southern end which was chosen as the perfect spot for 3 acres of Viognier.
After selecting the site, we looked for the correct clone/rootstock combination. Many clones of Viognier that had been propagated in California were of questionable providence, some proved to not be Viognier. We planted the 3 acres in 1997 and by 2001/2002 we started to realize what a special spot this was for this variety.
The Clendenen Family wines are meant to be delicious, well-constructed wines which will age well. We pick grapes when the balance of sugar/acid/flavor/tannin are ideal. All these qualities are evident in our 2015 “Second Coming” Viognier. After four years of barrel age, the wine has evolved past the fruit-only stage to a wine of balance. The wine is elegant but powerful, with flavors of stone fruit, melon and honeysuckle mixed with vanillin, and captivating minerality.
Even though this a serious Viognier, the same food parings will still work, but with a complex wine like this the ideal food pairings is a long list. My favorites are mild curries, shellfish, and since this is a flavorful wine, try roasted pork or chicken.