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Au Bon Climat Knox Alexander Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
  • WE92
  • WS91
  • RP90
0% ABV
  • WW92
  • RP90
  • WE96
  • WW95
  • RP92
  • RP92
  • W&S92
  • RP91
  • W&S92
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Try the 2014 Vintage 44 99
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Red fruit and berries dominate the aromas in this wine. The mouth is intense and acidic with disengaged red berries, citrus, and spice. Named after Jim Clendenen's son. This wine is a Vineyard Selection, of the best sections of Bien Nacido Vineyard.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
This low production Pinot Noir will be scooped up by sommeliers who understand how good it is with so many of their entrées. The alcohol is modest, and the oak is in the background despite being comprised of 75% new French barrels. That’s because the raspberry, cola and tea flavors are so strong, they’re able to stand for themselves. The grape source is from Jim Clendenen’s personal Le Bon Climat Vineyard and Bien Nacido. All in all, this is a gorgeous Pinot that will continue to impress over the next six years.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Offering floral aromas of wilted rose, spice, blackberry and red plum, this is a graceful, supple, tender expression of Pinot, framed by just the right touch of tannins, gripping gently on the finish.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A small step down, yet still outstanding, the 2010 Pinot Noir Knox Alexander has lively crushed berries, wild flowers, forest floor, toasted spice and hints of green herbs to go with a medium-bodied, pure and elegantly proportioned mouthfeel. Balanced, with a great mid-palate and fine tannin, it needs another year or two to come together and will drink nicely for upwards of a decade.
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Au Bon Climat

Au Bon Climat

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Au Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, 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.

Santa Maria Valley

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A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.

Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

WWH130508_2010 Item# 135954