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Au Bon Climat Sanford and Benedict Chardonnay 2008

Chardonnay from Central Coast, California
    13.5% ABV
    • RP92
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    • WE95
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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, 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.

    Central Coast

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    The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast 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 Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

    Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.

    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’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

    In the Glass

    When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

    Perfect Pairings

    Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based 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. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

    WWH121891_2008 Item# 107403