Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2015
Like all Au Bon Climat wines, this is a food wine. In its youth, match this wine with lamb or dried meats. After a few years as the flavors coalesce, it will pair better with salmon or mild red sauce with pasta. The possible food pairings are almost endless.
In 1982, Jim 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.
Pinot Noir is the second-most planted grape in Santa Barbara County, just behind Chardonnay. It thrives in cooler areas of the region, namely in the of the Sta. Rita Hills, which is part of Santa Barbara’s larger Santa Ynez Valley sub-appellation. Thought for decades to be too cool for viticulture, Sta. Rita Hills began to gain notoriety in the 1970’s, thanks to the pioneering work of Richard Sandford and Michael Benedict, among others.
Santa Barbara Pinot Noir dances across the palate with vivid red fruit and spice. Precision, bright acidity, elegance and fruit-driven silkiness make Santa Barbara Pinot delightfully enjoyable, whether on their own or with a variety of dishes.