2018 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard
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. To pay homage to some of the many outstanding vineyards in Santa Barbara County, Au Bon Climat created the “Santa Barbara County Historic Vineyards Collection.”
Los Alamos Growing Region: Situated between two acclaimed appellations, the grapes in Los Alamos seem to have the best of both worlds; the long, cool growing season of Santa Maria, and the warmth of the Santa Ynez Valley, to ensure complete ripeness and depth. With warm days and very cold nights, the fruit from this region achieves incredible concentration and balance. Its slight, well drained soils and a wide range of microclimates allows for a diversity of varietals. Because Los Alamos Valley is not an official appellation, you will not see it on a wine label – “Santa Barbara County” is used instead. But you should not be surprised to see Los Alamos Valley vineyard names specified on the label.
Los Alamos Vineyard: In 1982, Clendenen, with his then partner Adam Tolmach, began making wine in a converted dairy barn on the Los Alamos Vineyard. This vineyard was purchased in the late 80s and ABC was no longer able to get any fruit. In ’05, through new vineyard manager relationships, we’re very happy to be sourcing again from this “historic” source.
Our 2018 version of our Santa Barbara County Historic Vineyard Collection Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot Noir is made the best grapes from that vineyard. We have spent the last 13 years “checking out” this vineyard. During those years we have taken grapes from all corners of this 400-acre vineyard. We have determined that Block 9 is the best block and clones 2A and 828 are the best clones within Block 9.
After two years in the bottle the 2018 Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot is growing into a stunning wine. The aromas of ripe berries, bitter chocolate, with a whiff of fresh herbs all leap out of the glass. The silky tannins and the rich mouthfeel show the quality of this wine. This wine is pure Pinot pleasure and will improve for another 5 to 7 years. I would serve this wine with the traditional Pinot food matches of duck, grouse, or other games birds, or even a hearty rack of lamb.
Score: 92 Another terrific value from this estate, especially for those who like more elegant, seamless wines, the 2018 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard offers lots of ripe cherry and strawberry fruit as well as notes of spice, loamy earth, and underbrush. Medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, and elegant on the palate, it's a no-brainer Pinot Noir to enjoy over the coming 5-7 years.