Au Bon Climat Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay 2006
Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, California
This wine comes from our two estate vineyards; Bien Nacido and Le Bon Climat. The wine combines old school Chardonnay from K Block at Bien Nacido and the newer planting at Le Bon Climat. Bien Nacido K block was planted in the early 70s with the UC Davis clone 4. This clone when grown in the cool Santa Maria Valley ripens with bracing acidity. The newer Chardonnay clones planted at Le Bon Climat in 1998 have riper flavors at lower sugars when compared to the UC Davis clones. 2006 was a cool vintage, the grapes for this wine were picked nearly two weeks later than normal. The final blend is 2/3 Bien Nacido and 1/3 Le Bon Climat. This is the richest and roundest of all the Au Bon Climat Chardonnays. Don't be fooled by the upfront flavors, the finish is bright with palette cleansing acidity.
Wine Enthusiast - "Extremely rich and ripe, with tremendous pineapple, pear, mango and white flower flavors that have been liberally oaked. Shows a touch of bitterness in the finish, which is probably the result of its age. Still, it’s a flamboyant, impressive Chardonnay, like a magnificent old tapestry that's fraying a bit around the edges"
Wine & Spirits - "The bright, fresh core of red fruit flavors (think apples and strawberries) gives this chardonnay a sense of vibrancy. To get that freshness, Jim Clendenen sources grapes from two cool-climate vineyards, Bien Nacido and his estate, Le Bon Climat, both planted in the loose alluvial soils of Santa Maria Valley. The brisk flavors last, growing deeper and more pronounced with air. It feels floral and lifted on the finish, a playful and delicious balance between fruit and mineral expression. For grilled pork tenderloin."
Au Bon Climat Winery
Au Bon Climat was created to produce high quality handcrafted wine from the traditional Burgundian varietals. They are one of the few California wineries to explore the gamut of these varieties: Aligote, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The winery is located within the Bien Nacido Vineyard, the source of the majority of their fruit. View all Au Bon Climat Wines
About Santa Maria ValleyView a map of Santa Maria Valley wineries
Situated near the ocean in the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley appellation runs east to west. Pacific Ocean air funnels in to cool the vineyards, allowing the grapes to evenly ripen and reach their full potential. This unique climate paired with the region's well-drained soils helps create some sought-after grapes.
Notable FactsPinot Noir and Chardonnay are the most planted varieties in the AVA, which covers over 7,000 acres of land. Syrah is gaining more ground as it consistantly produces outstanding wines. Many vineyards are owned by growers and sold to wineries, so seeing a vineyard name on multiple producer's bottles is common. One of the better known vineyards, Bien Nacido, is found on the labels of some of the most prestigious wines of the area.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
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