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Au Bon Climat Isabelle Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from California
  • RP93
  • CG91
13.5% ABV
  • JD95
  • V94
  • RP90
  • RP92
  • JD92
  • WW91
  • WS91
  • WW92
  • RP91
  • RP93
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Isabelle is comprised of the best cuvees each year from all the wines Au Bon Climat produces and that represents at least 6 different vineyards. The 2012 is a darker, luscious, fruitier Isabelle. It has an intensely perfumed, black raspberry nose with sexy floral and mineral qualities that gain power with air. This one needed no bottle time to show well. Isabelle has proven to age very well, and we routinely drink bottles with 15 years of age. Even though Isabelle is Au Bon Climat's "biggest" Pinot Noir with loads of intensity and power, it is still balanced and food friendly.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The most impressive Pinot here is the 2012 Pinot Noir Isabelle. A selection of the top barrels, it - like the Knox Alexander release - was barrel fermented and aged 20 months in new French oak, of which it's soaked up every trace. Showing distinctly Burgundian notes of sweet red and black fruits, sous bois, underbrush and spice, it's medium bodied, beautifully textured, elegant and layered, with nicely integrated acidity coming through on the finish. Drink it anytime over the coming decade.
CG 91
Connoisseurs' Guide
Less reliant on concentration and ripeness than most of its highrated brethren in this Issue, the Isabelle bottling has a lighter and almost ethereal nature on the one hand and genuine complexity on the other. Its aromatic focus on red cherries gains added range and admirable depth from its nuanced notes of raspberries, dried flowers, sweet herbs and hints of green olives for good measure. Medium-full in body and balanced from front to back, it carries emerging suppleness at the front and the promise of more to come with age. It may not demand more than a year of two but will keep improving after that.
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Au Bon Climat

Au Bon Climat

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Au Bon Climat, California
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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.

California

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Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied. Plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Villages or Cru level wines.

CWMAU1222_2012 Item# 144745