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Au Bon Climat

Wine Specs
Pinot Noir
Santa Rita Hills
Vineyard Designation
Sanford & Benedict Historic Vineyard
Alcohol %

2010 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard

Historic Vineyards Collection

For a region known for its cool climate fruit, Santa Rita Hills appellation is HOT right now, and global warming has nothing to do with it. An amazing location with the perfect combination of soil, climate and exposure, it set the standard for the region. This wine has both power and finesse.

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The story of Sanford and Benedict vineyard is a soap opera. It began as the dream of Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict. After some years of intrigue and all sort of rumors, Michael Benedict sold the vineyard in the 1990s. If the vineyard was going to be a success, certain vineyard practices had to modernize.  The new owner, being a capitalist, decided to grow a commercial crop of grapes. Drip irrigation was installed, squirrels and gophers were controlled, and fungicides were applied to prevent the entire vineyard from being lost to mildew. Even bio-dynamic vineyards need to apply fungicides to prevent mildew. With these few innovations the vineyard started to thrive. The crop varied in quantity; most years the crop was light, but the quality was always first class.

In 2010 Au Bon Climat produced Pinot Noir from Sanford and Benedict. The fruit was picked on September 24th with almost perfect numbers. The sugar was 23.6 brix, the pH was 3.22, and the TA was 8.25 g/l.  It was a scant harvest receiving less than two tons, 1.841 tons to be exact. After careful hand picking in the early morning hours, the grapes arrived at the winery nice and cold.  Cold grapes give time for a cold soak and a slower fermentation. During the cold, extended soak, the fruit driven aromas and flavors were extracted from the grapes. The slower fermentation also assisted in the gradual extraction of additional aromas and flavors as the alcohol content slowly rises. 

After the grapes reached dryness, the grapes were pressed, and the wine was put in new french oak Francois Frères barrels. The wine was gently racked in the late spring and was returned to barrel for a total of 22 months. Only 112 cases were bottled. No fining or filtration was necessary.

'Wow!' is my first impression. So many aromas slowly rise out of the glass: strawberry compote, coffee, cola, and black licorice are just a few of the many and constantly evolving smells. On the palate the wine is light but intense. Well made Pinot Noir is intense, but still subtle, and sublime, not explosive. This wine has the power and the finesse.  A wine of this stature should improve and evolve for 20 years. 

Cases Produced: 112

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