Au Bon Climat Knox Alexander Pinot Noir 2011 Front Label
Au Bon Climat Knox Alexander Pinot Noir 2011 Front LabelAu Bon Climat Knox Alexander Pinot Noir 2011 Front Bottle ShotAu Bon Climat Knox Alexander Pinot Noir 2011 Back Bottle Shot

Au Bon Climat Knox Alexander Pinot Noir 2011

  • W&S92
  • RP91
750ML / 13.5% ABV
Other Vintages
  • WS92
  • WW92
  • RP90
  • WE96
  • WW95
  • RP92
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  • RP90
  • W&S92
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750ML / 13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine, named after Jim Clendenen's son Knox Alexander, represents only the finest lots of Pinot Noir from Le Bon Climat or Bien Nacido Vineyards. These two vineyards, separated by the Sisquoc River, produce really distinctive Pinot Noir. Both vineyards struggle to yield much most years, but the small amount that is harvested is of amazing quality. The wine has a firm structure with undulating richness that become more prominent as it ages.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
This is a supple pinot noir - mostly from hillside blocks at Bien Nacido - with plump curves of red fruit held against savory tobacco tones, carrying its bright acidity into a long, gentle, umami-laden finish. Decant it for braised duck.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
All three of the Pinot Noirs were outstanding, and have classic, slightly Burgundian profiles, with notable structure and bright acidity. First, the 2011 Pinot Noir Knox Alexander is a beautiful Pinot Noir that has a clean, layered and classic feel. Possessing plenty of black cherry, rose petal, sappy flowers and earthy nuances, enjoy this medium-bodied, refined and elegant effort over the coming 5-7 years.
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Au Bon Climat

Au Bon Climat

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Au Bon Climat, California
Au Bon Climat Au Bon Climat Tasting Room Winery Image

In 1982, Clendenen decided, along with Adam Tolmach, to start a winery dedicated to Burgundian varietals in leased quarters. Adam left in 1990 to pursue his own efforts leaving Jim solo at the helm. Through careful re-investment from its own production, Au Bon Climat (which means "a well exposed vineyard") has grown to over 50,000 cases annually.

Au Bon Climat sources fruit from several of the most highly regarded vineyards in the Central Coast. These include Clendenen’s own Le Bon Climat Vineyard and estate plantings at the legendary Bien Nacido Vineyard – both in Santa Maria Valley, along with Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, Los Alamos Vineyard (Santa Barbara County), and San Luis Obispo County's Talley Vineyard.

The winery has cultivated an international reputation for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Jim Clendenen, the “Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat, is recognized worldwide for his classically styled wines. In addition to his Burgundian-focused Au Bon Climat wines, Jim also established another brand, Clendenen Family Vineyards. This project of passion allows him to make artisan, small lots of distinctive wines from a wider spectrum of varieties in styles conducive to small lots. He has received high acclaim for Italian varietals particularly his Nebbiolo that has a five year aging regimen in barrel.

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Santa Maria Valley Wine

Central Coast, California

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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.

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Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”

WWH134332_2011 Item# 138241

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