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February 2024 Wine Club Newsletter

The Latest from Au Bon Climat

Scroll through for an article on the 2021 Isabelle, a delicious recipe and featured wine pairing, meet our new National Sales Manager and more! And as always, find tasting notes and details for the wines featured in your February Wine Club Shipment below!


Add-on opportunity…

Take advantage of two add-on bundles…

Customize your shipment and take advantage of cost savings with our two add-on offers for February 2024! Save money with our flat rate shipping…and don’t forget, wine club discounts apply on top of these offers!

Six Bottle Add-on Offer: $191 (Plus, wine club discount!)

  • 2019 Pinot Noir “Knox Alexander”
  • 2019 Pinot Noir “La Bauge Au-dessus”
  • 2017 Clendenen Family Vineyards 90% Syrah/10% Viognier
  • 2018 Clendenen Family Vineyards Mondeuse Noire
  • 2021 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard
  • 2022 80% Pinot Gris 20% Pinot Blanc

Three Bottle Add-on Offer: $79 (Plus, wine club discount!)

  • 2019 Pinot Noir “La Bauge Au-dessus”
  • 2021 Clendenen Family Vineyards Pinot Gris
  • 2020 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard
How to add wine to your February Shipment

Select “Edit Wines” in the upper right corner of your membership profile. Choose the wines or bundle you’d like to add, then click on Save Selection at the top of the page. You have now customized your shipment. To see the total breakdown including shipping discount, click on ‘TOTAL.

ADD-ON DEADLINE IS FEBRUARY 7TH AT 5PM PST. If you would like to add-on wines not featured in your club portal, please get in touch with us. Email or call 805-883-8165. For our members who elected to have their wines shipped, orders will start shipping on February 20th.

For our members who elected to have their wines shipped, orders will start shipping on February 20th

Included in this Shipment…

2021 “Nuits-Blanches au Bouge Foresight” Estate Chardonnay

With 2021 we are looking ahead to the future with our knowledge of the past to continue making quality Nuits in the future. Another brilliant version of this wine with textbook Chardonnay notes of pear, ripe stone fruits, caramelized lemons, chalky minerality, and toasted spice. It is brought up in new French oak barrels and’s medium-bodied and balanced, with a great mid-palate and impressive length. Au Bon Climat started making our blue series, “Nuits-Blanches” in 1996 when Jim Clendenen decided to “show off” the exceptional grape quality at Bien Nacido Vineyard. We picked later, sorted more, and kept the wine in barrel longer than any other Chardonnay.

2022 Pinot Gris Clendenen Family Vineyards

This charming Pinot Gris is crafted in a more Alsatian style. It is easy drinking but with sophisticated elegance. Crisp, minerally, and dry, the wine has a fresh green apple/pear character with subtle notes of lemon and lime that are well-framed. Its delightfully uncomplicated yet elegant nature makes it a versatile food partner. Match with lighter fare such as trout amandine or crab salad. Perfect for casual sipping with friends.

2021 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard

Introducing our latest release from Bien Nacido, a vibrant Chardonnay that truly stands out. Unlike the Nuits Blanches, Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay was picked a bit less ripe, and with 50% new French oak, it’s less showy than Nuit Blanches.  Crafted in the timeless Old World style, this Chardonnay boasts impressive depth and richness, promising a graceful aging process for years to come. And here’s a little insider note – it’s the only wine in this release that’s been tasted by critics (so far). Scored 92 points Wine Enthusiast, 94 Vinous, Antonio Galloni

2021 Isabelle Pinot Noir

Isabelle is quite complex, showing candied raspberry, cherry, blood orange fruit with notes of anise, wet stone, and bay leaf, and hints of baking spice and pastry crust on the palate. Medium-full-bodied with a tight structure, this wine will evolve and increase in complexity for years. Isabelle is unlike any other Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir. Before making Isabelle in 1994, our top Pinot Noirs were all single vineyard wines. Isabelle was the first, top-end Pinot Noir blended from different locations. After the birth of his daughter, Jim Clendenen wanted to make a special wine in her honor. Every year since, we have selected the finest Pinot barrels from many local and far vineyards. The goal is to make the best wine from our best barrels, so the blend has varied over the years. By choosing and blending only the finest lots, the wine is always the top of its class year after year. Isabelle has blossomed into a distinctive young woman, and her wine stands out uniquely at Au Bon Climat.

2021 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard “Santa Barbara County Historic Vineyards Collection”

Los Alamos Vineyard has always had a special place in our hearts, the first vintage of Au Bon Climat was made in an old barn on site, through today as we have watched the quality of the fruit continue to improve.True to the Los Alamos wine region, this Pinot has a dense, straightforward fruit character. Aromas of ripe cherry/red berries are joined on the palate by nuances of forest floor, bitter chocolate, cola, and vanilla. Silky tannins add to its considerable appeal. Medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, and elegant on the palate, it’s a no-brainer Pinot Noir to enjoy over the next decade.

2019 Rancho La Cuna Syrah/Viognier Clendenen Family Vineyards

Cola, clovy modeled. No over-ripe fruit here. The Syrah and Viognier grapes were co-fermented and punched down twice daily in a 5-ton, open-top fermentor, a style that is often seen in the Rhône region of France that takes the tannic, muscular Syrah and with the 10% addition of Viognier, gives it suppleness. Aging for 30 months in 50% new 500-liter Hungarian oak puncheons provided additional complexity, subtle oak flavors and excellent integration of all elements.

2019 Rancho La Cuna Grenache Clendenen Family Vineyards

This is a wine of structure, balance, and finesse. The Grenache shows berry, cherry, and pomegranate fruit and earth notes in the nose, followed by deeper berry, white pepper and spice on the palate. It has a regal demeanor in a sophisticated, less obvious style. Can’t wait to see this one age! Only a few barrels are made each vintage, often 100% allocated to our wine club members. Made from our estate vineyard, Rancho La Cuna is in the Los Alamos Valley, between the cooler Santa Maria Valley appellation and the warmer Santa Ynez Valley appellation.

Join us February 11th at our Santa Barbara Tasting Room for our Pick-Up Party! There are two time slots available: 11:30-1:30pm and 2:00-4:00pm, reservations are required.

Local Santa Barbara husband and wife team, Big G’s Barbecue, will be serving up tri-tip sliders and cowboy beans. We hope to see you there!

Join us in the tasting room on February 11th for our Pick-Up Party. Reservations are required. Click to reserve!

Welcome, Cher!

New National Sales Manager

Cher Engelstad - National Sales Manager at Au Bon Climat Winery

For many, many years Jim Clendenen not only made the wine, but he was also its only salesperson.  In 2009 we convinced him to accept some help.  Michael Main was hired as Au Bon Climat’s first National Sales Manager.  Michael had the personality and experience to be the perfect fit and quickly earned Clendenen’s confidence and respect.  Michael’s sales efforts led Au Bon Climat’s growth.  Sadly after 14 years, Michael has chosen to retire. 

ABC is welcoming Cher Engelstad as our new National Sales Manager.  Cher’s career included many positions throughout the industry, but as a natural salesperson, sales has been her focus and is where she shines.  Cher worked with Clos LaChance, Joseph Phelps, and  Inglenook Winery.  Cher worked with Francis Ford Coppola, so we know she could handle big personalities.  Selling wine is challenging, and we are happy to have Cher and her expertise on our team.