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Au Bon Climat Sanford and Benedict Chardonnay 2008

Chardonnay from Central Coast, California
    13.5% ABV
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    13.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The fruit for this wine comes from the oldest section of Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, planted in the early 70's. This vineyard has a high degree of calcified marine deposits in the soil, the vineyard orientation is a very cool northern-facing site, and the cool ocean breezes in what is now the Sta. Rita Hills appellation (a sub-appellation of the Santa Ynez valley) all combine for compelling terroir exhibited in the wines from Sanford andBenedict Vineyard.

    The 2008 harvest was typical, we would generally pick Chardonnay from Sanford andBenedict Vineyards towards the end of September. After hand-picking, whole clusterpressing and complete primary and malo-lactic fermentation in the barrel, which are 50%new French, the wine was aged sur-lee for 12 months in these same barrels. The finalproduct is a wine of balance and restraint with underlying power. You can smell andtaste the flinty soil. After bottle aging for a year the limey, lemony flavors and aromas arestarting to become more apparent.

    This is a wine that is great today, try it with lighter fare. The wine will easily age for 10years. In the future pair this wine stone crab, or any shell fish.

    Critical Acclaim

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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.

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    Central Coast

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    The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.

    Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.

    While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.

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    Chardonnay

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    One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

    In the Glass

    When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

    Perfect Pairings

    Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.

    WWH121891_2008 Item# 107403