The 2006, like the '05, is a truly alternative style of California white wine. The wine has not been compromised in quality at any step in its production. Low yielding, high quality vineyards (Bien Nacido, Rancho Vinedo, and Los Alamos) are hand-pruned, leaf thinned by hand, sustainably farmed, and hand picked.
The grapes are whole cluster pressed, unsettled (a Burgundian tradition, like the weather), straight to Francois Freres small barrel for primary fermentation and malo-lactic, topped once a week by hand, sur lie, and bottled after a careful fining and no filtration. All of the French wood is neutral.
This wine is fruit driven, lees enhanced, texturally sophisticated, balanced, bright, complex, and concentrated from yields under 3 ton per acre. Remember when Chardonnay had stone fruit (not tropical), firm acidity, brightness, earthiness, minerality, and no vestige of heaviness? Au Bon Climat certainly does! Here is your alternative. Chardonnay is not an aromatic variety, it needs wood and lees, but can be vinified in an elegant, fresh, and food friendly fashion.