November 2023 Wine Club Newsletter

The Latest from Au Bon Climat

Happy greetings from Au Bon Climat! Scroll through for our latest news, including an update on Harvest 2023 shared by Knox Clendenen, prepare for the season of hosting and cheer with a preview of our Holiday offerings, plus a delicious chicken dish for chilly nights. And as always, find tasting notes and details for the wines featured in your November Wine Club Shipment below!

Click THE IMAGES BELOW to view our featured content & SCROLL FOR MORE INFORMATION ON YOUR november WINE CLUB SHIPMENT…

Add-on opportunity…

Take advantage of an opportunity to add rare Library Wines to your shipment while saving money with our Flat Rate Shipping…

An enticing selection to add to your shipment, ship more wine with our Flat Rate Shipping. These rare and fabulous library wines are November’s Wine Club Shipment add-on. Time has taken these wines to a new, elevated level only achieved with age and patience–and we’ve done that for you. Each wine was tasted, evaluated, and approved by our winemaking team. Take advantage of the opportunity to add any (or all!) of these incredible bottles. Based on your delivery address, our shipping rates will be the same for 1-3 bottles, 4-6 bottles or 7-12 bottles.

A description of the Add-On bottle offering. 
2001 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard
Originally this wine was a bunker buster. Massive cherry fruit, flavored with cinnamon, rich cola, cocoa and toasty oak. The wine has developed gracefully over the years. 95/Editor’s Choice Wine Enthusiast
 
2007 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Vineyard
A complex nose of red berry, cherry, dried rose and mint are followed on the palate with red fruit and spice. Age has unified the components into a soft, silky expression with intriguing flavors. 91 Vinous
 
2012 Au Bon Climat Hildegard Estate White Blend
Classic Hildegard aromas of melon, pear, white flowers, crushed chalk are well integrated. The flavor profile follows suit with a wonderful trace of butterscotch from age. A wine of richness and length.  92 Wine Enthusiast
 
2012 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Knox Alexander
91 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Utterly seamless and perfectly balanced, with classic notes of sweet cherries, damp soil, forest floor and wild herbs. This elegant, silky Pinot is just coming into its own. Gorgeous. 91 Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator
 
2012 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Isabelle
This impressive Pinot shows distinctly Burgundian notes of sweet red and black fruits, sous bois, underbrush and spice; it's beautifully textured, elegant and layered.  93 Wine Advocate
 
2012 Clendenen Family Chardonnay, Le Bon Climat
A rich, creamy wine with a nose of honeyed apricots, orange blossoms, brioche joined by savory/toasty/nutty flavors complimenting the stone fruit and citrus layers What a treat!  94 Wine Advocate 93 Wine Enthusiast, 93 Vinous, 90 Wine Spectator
How to add wine to your November Shipment

Take advantage of cost savings with our Flat Rate Shipping… In your wine club shipment email, click the ‘Adjust Your Shipment’ button. On the next page, under the blue menu banner on the top in the right corner, click on the button ‘Edit Wines.’ Select the wines you’d like to add, then click on ‘Save Selection’ located on top. You have now customized your shipment. To see the total breakdown including shipping discount, click on ‘TOTAL’.

Please note: Add-on deadline is October 31st. If you would like to add-on wines not featured in your club portal, please get in touch with us. Email wineclub@aubonclimat.com or call 805-883-8165.

For our members who elected to have their wines shipped, orders will ship on November 13th.

 

Included in this Shipment…

2021 Au Bon Climat Hildegard Estate White Blend, Santa Maria Valley

55% Pinot Gris, 45% Pinot Blanc 5% Aligoté. A regal white with minerality and complexity highlighting this luscious blend. Fig and melon notes from the Pinot Gris are joined by green apple and stone fruits from the Pinot Blanc. It is round and enticing with a lovely floral oak in that finish. As it ages the texture and flavors will expand. Scored 94 points/Editor’s Choice Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 94 Vinous, and 93 Jeb Dunnuck.

2022 Clendenen Family Chenin Blanc, Rancho La Cuna, Santa Barbara County

A sophisticated dry white with an ethereal nose. The minerality is apparent along with aromas of honeysuckle and quince backed with layers of lime zest and coriander. Completion of barrel and malolactic fermentation increased the weight and depth mid-palate while the crisp acidity lifts the finish. Excellent now but will continue to develop in years to come.

2019 Clendenen Family Chardonnay, Le Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley

A wine of texture but also airy and nicely lifted. Lemon confit, dried flowers, mint, chamomile, and tangerine peel are beautifully framed by a discreet touch of oak. Though aged 18 months in new French oak, using in 350L barrels helps maintain freshness and nuance. Bright acids pull it back together in the finish. A stunning wine that will develop for some time. Scored 94 points Vinous.

2020 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

From a great site in the Sta. Rita Hills and fermented with 50% whole clusters, this is a more savory, perfumed expression of Pinot from this vineyard. The wine shows wild strawberry and crushed red berry fruit with nuances of allspice, dried flowers, citrus peel, cedar and autumn leaves. It is a chiseled, focused but graceful Pinot Noir that will unquestionably keep for over a decade. Aged 20 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Scored 95 points Vinous.

2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Oregon

Our second Oregon Pinot in the series is sourced from the highly regarded, estate vineyard of Lingua Franca in the Eola-Amity Hills of Willamette Valley. Classically vinified, we also included some whole clusters in the fermentation to add more complexity and substance. This is a dark and supple Pinot, with perfumed aromas and flavors of ripe red and dark fruits enhanced by notes of star anise and exotic spices. It deftly plays richness off elegance. The wine is Imminently drinkable, but will continue to develop. Aged 18 months in François Frères French oak barrels.

2021 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Bien Nacido, Santa Maria Valley

An exquisitely elegant, perfumed wine loaded with character. Dried hibiscus and alpine strawberry take the lead followed by dark cherry, dried cranberry, cedar, mint and earthy sage tones. High fruit acid and great structure from oak tannins assist in creating a wonderfully balanced wine. Aged 20 months in 350L François Frères French oak barrels, the larger format preserves the freshness. Scored 97 points/Editor’s Choice in Wine Enthusiast, and 94 Vinous.

2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Larmes de Grappe, Sta. Rita Hills

From the legendary Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, this is a special wine. Supple and racy in the glass, with terrific depth and balance and flavors that linger. Perfumed floral, spice and savory notes emerge from beneath fruit that suggests red cherry, plum, rose petal, mint and blood orange. The 2019 “Tears of the Grape” Pinot Noir is a dense, beautifully structured red that is also silky and elegant. 100% whole cluster fermentation and 20 months age in specially made, 100% new François Frères French oak 350-liter barrels helped to build this outstanding.

around the corner…

Six Au Bon Climat Wine Bottles in a row in front of a fireplace and a Christmas tree.
Coming Soon: Holiday Specials

The holidays are just around the corner, and now is the time to take advantage of your wine club discount and Flat Rate shipping. We’ll make gift giving, parties, and family get-togethers easy.

We have put together a number of exciting bundles, case selections, magnums, and gift sets, many specially priced. Wine club discounts are applied on top of that. These opportunities have limited time frames and will be staggered over the next few months. Our first begins in mid-November with Magnum Madness followed by Black Friday and the return of the Black By Black wines, so popular last year. Then it’s the Cyber Mondeuse Monday Deal. In early December there will be amazing wine bundles, gift packs, and cases.  

Make sure to pay particular attention to our emails so you don’t miss out on the next featured offering!

Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Remember deadlines. The carriers will be overwhelmed the closer to the holiday, and Ground Service packages can take a day more or so to arrive. Make sure the recipient is someone of age and available to sign for the package. Thinking about it but know you’ll forget? Place your order early for shipment later. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your package will arrive in time.

Thanksgiving 2023 Shipping Deadline Estimates: 

  • West Coast: Order by 11/15
  • Mountain: Order by 11/13
  • Central & East Coast: Order by 11/11

Christmas 2023 Shipping Deadline Estimates: 

  • West Coast: Order by 12/17
  • Mountain: Order by 12/14
  • Central & East Coast: Order by 12/12

Please allow up to 2 days to process. You will receive an email notification when your order is shipped. Shipping addresses in remote areas may take longer.

Need in a hurry? Consider Second Day and Overnight options.

the ultimate wine gift

A glass of red wine is poured into an ABC logoed wine glass.

Give the gift that keeps giving year-round, with the purchase of a one-year Au Bon Climat wine club membership. Not only will your gift-giving for every holiday be covered, it will make each day special as they drink the wine. The recipient will receive four shipments for the year and have access to all the wine club benefits. Choose from three different clubs, 3, 6 and 12 bottle. Customize further designating mixed red and white, all red or all white. The giftee will receive a special, commemorating card with your name as the giver. To purchase, fill out the new wine club membership form on the web. Want to talk to someone personally? Contact Nicole Wasserman directly at wineclub@aubonclimat.com or call (805) 883-8165.

LIVE MUSIC SUNDAYS

June 2023 – December 2023

Since June, Live Music Sundays have been filling our Sundays with soulful tunes. We started with captivating Jazz, swayed to the rhythms of Bossa Nova, and rocked out with Santa Barbara’s own Will Breman.

And the party continues! Join us every other Sunday from 3-5 PM until the end of the year for more incredible live performances.

Recent Scores & Reviews

“AU BON CLIMAT REMAINS A REFERENCE POINT FOR SANTA BARBARA PERHAPS THE REFERENCE POINT GIVEN THE GLOBAL REACH THESE WINES NOW ENJOY.” – ANTONIO GALLONI, Vinous

Vinous is one of the most respected wine publications. Their regional reviews are always eagerly awaited, and they have just arrived! Both Au Bon Climat and Clendenen Family wines did remarkably well with ALL wines receiving a score in the 90s (out of 100) with most in the mid-90s. The following represent some of our top-scoring wines...

Check out our top scores featured in our blog post here…

Hildegard Origin Story – Wine Fit for a Queen

When I started working at Au Bon Climat a decade ago, I was amazed at how many great wines they produced. So, when I was introduced to Hildegard, my first thought was, why would you make another wine that’s a blend? Was it a gimmick?

Once tasted, I had my answer. Hildegard immediately became one of my favorites. It has an opulent texture yet light on its feet. The fruit is expressive but reigned in and complimented by the oak. The wine also has a great story that is part of a legend and, as in all folklore, has many versions; this is mine.

Mythic Background

Burgundy’s wine history goes back centuries to the King of the Franks, Charlemagne. During his rule in the early 800s, the importance of wine and viticulture exploded. A bon vivant, Charlemagne enjoyed his wine, often having boisterous parties causing red wine to stain his white beard. This made his wife Hildegard, miffed. The solution? White wine. To appease her, Charlemagne planted white varietals Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligoté. Chardonnay did not come to the famed Corton Charlemagne region until centuries later.

The Spark

As a frequent visitor of Burgundy starting in his 20s, Jim Clendenen established friendships with many winemakers there, and soaked up their knowledge. These were the kingpins of Chardonnay the rest of the world looked up to, including him. France has been making wine for centuries while California had training wheels. Even so, discussions and comparisons ensued. I believe some bragging was involved. This triggered Jim to ask, ‘Can I make a great white Burgundy like Corton-Charlemagne in Santa Barbara?’ In his deep dive for answers, Jim went all the way back to Burgundy’s roots.

The Experiment

Intrigued by its history, Jim decided to recreate the original plantings of Corton Charlemagne. He sourced Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligoté from vines planted in the Santa Maria Valley that has terroir similar to Burgundy. Each varietal was made individually using Old World techniques with the finest barrels. The blend created a complex, creamy white wine with a fruit profile and personality separate from Chardonnay yet had similar qualities. It was wonderful. It was Burgundy-esque, but not white Burgundy. Nonetheless, a worthy name was needed and since the title Charlemagne was taken, the wine was deemed Hildegard, after his queen. An instant hit, Au Bon Climat has been making Hildegard ever since.

Moral of the Story

Great Burgundies will never be precisely replicated anywhere else. At ABC we can create world class, Burgundian-styled wine that may resemble its French counterpart, yet it will always reflect the inherent properties of our region. That is what makes it special. We can never be Burgundy, nor would we want to.

Recipe

While Chardonnay and our Hildegard Estate White share similar traits, Hildegard has a more expressive fruit character and crispness that makes it incredibly food compatible. Its velvety mouthfeel and bright citrus notes are a heavenly pair with creamy, rich chicken dishes, like Chicken Gérard.

By Katie O’Hara

Chicken Gaston Gérard

Yet another kitchen disaster made good in the name of invention. The recipe was created in 1930 by the wife of the Deputy Mayor of Dijon, Gaston Gérard. She was cooking for an esteemed guest, Maurice Edmond Sailland, AKA Curnonsky, a celebrated food writer dubbed The Prince of Gastronomy. Gravity intervened and she accidentally dumped a load of paprika into the chicken dish Madame Gérard was cooking. To rectify it she added crème fraiche, white wine and a dollop of mustard. Curnonsky loved it, and he named the dish after his host. It is now a Dijon classic.

Suggested Pairing: While Chardonnay and our Hildegard Estate White share similar traits, Hildegard has a more expressive fruit character and crispness that makes it incredibly food compatible. Its velvety mouthfeel and bright citrus notes are a heavenly pair with creamy, rich chicken dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup Crème Fraiche (or sour cream if creme fraiche is unavailable)
  • 3/4 cup grated Comté or Gruyère cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (optional), leaves removed and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp dry breadcrumbs

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Heat oil & butter in skillet until butter is sizzling and frothy. Brown the chicken breasts; about 3-4 minutes each side.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish and then place in the oven to finish cooking, about 10-15 minutes. 
  4. In the same skillet, sauté the shallot until golden then add white wine, simmering until wine is reduced by about half. Lower the heat and add to it the creme fraiche, mustard, thyme and paprika and let simmer a few minutes more.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with grated cheese then top with breadcrumbs.
  6. Return to oven to warm chicken and melt cheese.
  7. Serve immediately with a baguette (or wild rice), mixed green salad and a glass of Hildegard.

Knox Clendenen: Harvest 2023 Recap

An Update from CO-OWNER, Knox

Knox sits smiling in a barrel of grape vines after harvesting the fruit.

Good morning, afternoon, or evening to you dear reader. I have been let into the insulated and cool sanctuary that is the office to regale you with how our harvest is going so far. Contrary to last year, 2023 has been at a steady pace. In February and March, we had a profusion of rain, which provided much needed vigor to the vines. For most of late August and early September, the overcast weather caused the vines to take their time ripening the clusters. Our first arrival, Pinot Gris, came in on September 6th and since then we have picked Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The vineyards have provided an abundance of grapes with splendid quality. The acidity is high while also reaching necessary sugar levels. I believe this will harmonize perfectly with our use of French oak, creating a balanced and restrained wine with limitless aging potential. Though it is already October, we have a long way ahead of us. The labor is intense, however we have smiles on our faces, and more importantly, an influx of caffeine coursing through our veins. We shall keep marching on and when harvest is over, champagne will be drunk, and many a siesta will be had.

Vinous Scores: It may be Fall but we’re in the 90s! 

THE LATEST SCORES FROM VINOUS

Vinous is one of the most respected wine publications. Their regional reviews are always eagerly awaited, and they have just arrived! Both Au Bon Climat and Clendenen Family wines did remarkably well with ALL wines receiving a score in the 90s (out of 100) with most in the mid-90s. The following represent some of our top-scoring wines...

“Au Bon Climat remains a reference point for Santa Barbara perhaps THE reference point given the global reach these wines now enjoy.”
– Antonio Galloni, Vinous
SCORE: 95 | BOTTLE $50

2020 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay “Nuits-Blanches au Bouge – Hindsight”

The 2020 Chardonnay Nuits-Blanches au Bouge, a selection from Bien Nacido, is remarkably fresh and vibrant. Crushed rocks, citrus peel, mint, tangerine oil and white pepper are beautifully delineated. The purity of the flavors is just striking. Aging is a combination of 350 and 228-liter barrels confers notable freshness. This is a stellar showing from Au Bon Climat.

SCORE: 95 | BOTTLE: $40

2020 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard “Santa Barbara Historic Vineyards Collection”

The 2020 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Santa Barbara Historic Vineyards Collection is a model of crystalline purity and elegance. It emerges from the own-rooted, old vines section planted in the early 1970s, the most coveted spot of the iconic vineyard. Citrus peel, orchard fruit, white pepper and a kiss of French oak build into the taught, nervy finish. This is classic S&B Chardonnay from Au Bon Climat.

SCORE: 94 | BOTTLE: $60

2018 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard “33rd Vintage Celebration”

The 2018 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict 33rd Vintage Celebration spent two years in 350-liter barrels. The added time in barrel yields a Chardonay with notable textural voluptuousness. Lemon confit, marzipan, dried flowers and chamomile are all amplified in this decidedly potent, dense Chardonnay. 

SCORE:94 | BOTTLE: $65

2020 Pinot Noir “Isabelle”

The 2020 Pinot Noir Isabelle is a blend of the best barrels across all the vineyards Au Bon Climat sources from. Dark and enveloping, the Isabelle has a ton to offer. Dark red/purplish fruit, spice lavender and licorice are nicely pushed forward. 

SCORE: 93 | BOTTLE: $65

2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “Knox Alexander”

The 2019 Pinot Noir Knox Alexander is ethereal, delicate and flat-out delicious. Crushed flowers, sweet red cherry fruit, game, iron, licorice, dried herbs and orange peel add exotic flair. This aromatic, mid-weight Pinot is all class. The Knox Alexander is a blend of the best barrels from three estate vineyards – Bien Nacido, Le Bon Climat and Rancho La Cuna. 

SCORE: 93 | BOTTLE: $60

2018 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Lingua Franca Vineyard “Les Révélés”

A powerful wine, the 2018 Pinot Noir Lingua Franca Vineyard Les Révélés is laced with dark cherry, leather, tobacco, incense, and wild macerated cherry. This racy Pinot is not especially subtle, but it has plenty to offer. Vinification with 50% stems and aging in 100% new French oak are both strong markers. 

SCORE: 93 | BOTTLE: $40

2019 Clendenen Family Nebbiolo “Bricco Buon Natale”

The 2019 Nebbiolo Bricco Buon Natale is a powerful, driving wine. Bright red-toned fruit, cedar, dried flowers, mint and orange peel confer an exotic flair that is palpable. Beams of Nebbiolo tannin give the wine its shape. This layered, super-expressive Nebbiolo is a fine effort and very much worth checking out. 

SCORE: 93 | BOTTLE $75

2018 Clendenen Family Syrah Bien Nacido Estate Plantings

A powerful wine, the 2018 Pinot Noir Lingua Franca Vineyard Les Révélés is laced with dark cherry, leather, tobacco, incense, and wild macerated cherry. This racy Pinot is not especially subtle, but it has plenty to offer. Vinification with 50% stems and aging in 100% new French oak are both strong markers. 

September 2023 Wine Club Newsletter

The Latest from Au Bon Climat

Scroll through for the latest news and updates from Au Bon Climat including a special experience shared by Isabelle Clendenen, a delicious family recipe from our Tasting Room Manager, Wiktoria, and an update on Harvest 2023! And as always, find the tasting notes and details for the wines featured in your September Wine Club Shipment below!

Click THE IMAGES BELOW to view our featured content & SCROLL FOR MORE INFORMATION ON YOUR SEPTEMBER WINE CLUB SHIPMENT…

A SPECIAL OffeR…

September Bundle Special

In celebration of harvest, we are offering special pricing on a group of our ABC favorite wines. This selection truly represents the delicious style of Au Bon Climat. Take advantage of our Flat Rate Shipping and add on to make it a case!

RETAIL: $140
WINE CLUB MEMBERS: $120 (PLUS, RESPECTIVE WINE CLUB DISCOUNT!)

One Bottle Each Of the following:

2020 ABC Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard “Santa Barbara Historical Vineyards Collection”

Exceptional – as usual! Spiced orchard fruits, citrus, toasty brioche as well as hints of nuttiness all emerge. The palate grips with crushed rock minerality giving frame to the stone fruit and citrus flavors.

2019 ABC Pinot Noir “La Bauge Au-dessus”

A wine of great aromatics and character showing black cherry/cranberry fruit, rose petal, earth and spice. Balance is the key to this wine – of oak and fruit – tannin and acid – elegance and intensity. 

2019 ABC Pinot Noir “Knox Alexander”

A fragrant, ethereal bouquet leads to a complex, savory Pinot Noir with loads of spiced cherry, cranberry and red currant fruits as well as brambly herbs, underbrush, and leather-like aromas and flavors.

Shipments will ship the week of September 11th. The deadline to add-on, or adjust your shipment ore ship date is August 30th by 5 pm. If you would like to add on outside of the wine club offering, please email wineclub@aubonclimat.com. Quantities are limited.

HOT WEATHER ADVISORY

Please advise (if you have not already) whether you would prefer to ship your September shipment along with your November allotment to avoid heat damage. If you see your package as ‘skipped’ in your portal, you will receive your September allotment with November. Once your order has entered our shipping department, ABC is no longer liable for heat-damaged packages.  

Included in this Shipment…

2021 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay, Los Alamos Vineyard, Santa Barbara Historic Vineyards Collection, Santa Barbara County

It was 1982 when Au Bon Climat made its first wine in a small barn at Los Alamos Vineyard and we have been making wine from them ever since. The vineyard is known for creating wines of texture and depth. The 2021 Chardonnay shows aromas of dried lemon, white flowers and grapefruit-peel with hints of apricot, coconut and oak. The palate surrounds a rounded almond flavor, with tart citrus and warm wood tones decorating the experience. It is layered with a luxuriously textured mouthfeel, bright acidity, and a clean finish.

2022 Au Bon Climat 80% Pinot Gris/20% Pinot Blanc, Santa Maria Valley

Harvested with low sugar and high acidity, the crisp Pinot Gris portion of the blend supplies the energy, while the Pinot Blanc delivers minerality and depth. Together they create a delightful, dry white that is immensely drinkable. The fresh fruit character of green apple, pear and nuances of apricot broadens on the palate. A wine of beautiful minerality and purity. Light and refreshing, it has enough body and intensity to pair with a wide range of cuisines.

2019 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard “K Block”, Santa Maria Valley

Bien Nacido is known for their Chardonnay, but K Block is particularly special. We felt it deserved its own bottling and the royal treatment. The fruit was hand harvested, whole cluster pressed, then barrel fermented and aged 20 months in new, custom crafted, 350-liter French oak barrels from François Frères. We use these barrels for only our best wines. The result is an impressive, rich, creamy Chardonnay that is voluptuous yet well defined. Sweet barrel spice mixes nicely with the baked apple, pear, and lemon curd fruit character. It is wonderfully balanced with nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish.

2020 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Runway Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir characteristically has a very fragrant cherry, cranberry, rose petal and spice aroma, and firm structure. The fruit from Runway provides all that yet is richer and more intense. This expressive Pinot Noir has a core of red and black berries, and offers loads of spice with touches of licorice, cola and sagebrush. It is a well-structured, balanced, deeply colored wine with more richness and intensity than most. Round and plush, it is one of the more voluptuous, racy wines in style. Aged 24 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.

2019 Barham Mendelsohn Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

This hails from a five acre vineyard that is organically farmed in the most meticulous fashion. The extraordinary fruit is hand harvested, sorted vigorously in the vineyard, and then trucked to the winery in the cool of the night arriving early morning. A long and slow fermentation in 5 ton open-top fermentors extracted pretty but complex Pinot flavors. It was aged for 20 months in François Frères French oak barrels, 33% new. This is a rich Pinot Noir with black cherry, cassis and cocoa flavors combined with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanillin from the French oak barrels. Well integrated, silky and seductive, it’s a perfect match with lamb chops.

2019 Clendenen Family Nebbiolo “Bricco Buon Natale”, Santa Maria Valley

We have been creating Old World style Nebbiolo for over 20 years. It requires patience and commitment. Four years of barrel age has created a wine of refinement, depth and beautiful structure. Floral and berry aromas jump from the glass with secondary aromas of rose hip, orange zest, black currant, anise, dark cocoa just starting to develop. The intriguing bouquet is joined by dark cherry and plum fruit well integrated on the palate. There is a wonderful balance between the richness of fruit and complexity of age.

2018 Clendenen Family Petit Verdot, Estate Bien Nacido Plantings, Santa Maria Valley

Petit Verdot ripens so much later than the other Bordeaux varieties, it may seem surprising the varietal ripens so well at a cold vineyard like Bien Nacido. But it does. This is a beautifully layered, garnet colored wine that has the depth, structure and elegance of a highly ranked Bordeaux. Blackberry, boysenberry, and dark cherry fruit is upfront with back notes of sage and lavender. Tannins are firm and well stated. It is a balanced wine of refinement that will age for years to come.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

LIVE MUSIC SUNDAYS IN THE TASTING ROOM

Every other Sunday the Tasting Room will host Live Music Sundays from 3 pm to 5 pm.  We put tastings on hold, so you can enjoy a glass of wine.  Club members’ discounts apply to glasses of wine.

2023 Summer Lineup for our Live Music Sundays

Everything Signals a Good Harvest

Keeping an eye on harvest 2023

Grapes send clear signals throughout their growing cycle, so far, all of the signals have been strong.

The cold and wet winter was a clear signal to take a break and shut down.  Vines need at least 6 weeks of dormancy, which was not a problem this year. The cool early summer has allowed the grapes an easy start to their growing cycle. With average daily temps now hitting 85 degrees the vines and grapes have been signaled to grow. These warm days with our foggy mornings are perfect conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

After many years, our winemaker Jim Adelman can walk the vineyards and pretty accurately predict the yields. His take on the coming harvest is Pinot Noir will be above average in yields while Chardonnay will be a bit below average.

One of the benefits of making wine, is that it never gets dull. Every harvest is a bit different. The 2022 harvest presented lots of challenges for our wine making team. Let’s hope 2023 is a bit easier on them!

Pinot Noir grapes at Bien Nacido Vineyard on Aug 4th going through veraison. Netting is used to keep the birds at bay. Harvest will be delayed a few weeks this vintage, but everything is looking good!

Berry Brothers & Rudd 325

Isabelle clenden’s experience At the berry brothers & Rudd 325th anniversary in london

Berry Brothers & Rudd were gracious enough to invite me to their 325th anniversary in London this past June, and I was honored to be able to attend. They are the oldest of Britain’s wine and spirits merchants.  As an American, it is hard to wrap my mind around a company that has been operating since 1698. In that year, a woman we only know as The Widow Bourne started the company importing teas, coffee, and spices. It was profoundly inspiring to then get to be at this event hosted by Lizzy Rudd, chair, and Emma Fox, CEO, as a continuation of woman leadership for the company. 

Due to their expansions into other countries, I was fortunate to practice my Japanese by talking to the members of their Japanese branch along with their clientele. It felt like no time at all had gone by when they all requested us to head to our seats. I went to look for my seat on the giant chart when I saw a man pointing at a familiar name. “Olivier Merlin? I know that name!” I exclaimed. When he turned he immediately recognized me and gave me a tearful hug. Merlin is a brilliant winemaker in Macconais, France, and a dear friend to my father. 

At the dinner, I got to meet many lovely people and catch up with two more important people from my childhood and dear friends of my dad’s. The conversation turned to Etienne de Montille, and he happened to be sitting at the table just next to mine, so we were able to have a nice chat. Montille is another fantastic French producer in Côte d’Or. Jasper Morris, an expert on Burgundian wine, also was kind enough to make his way over to say ‘hi’ and reminisce about Dad. It was a wonderful night full of friends and I am thankful to have gotten to experience it.

Join us for Santa Barbara Restaurant Week 2023

Join us for a special tasting menu in honor of Santa barbara restaurant week: April 14th – 23rd

Indulge in the unparalleled delights of Santa Barbara County’s extraordinary wines, as acclaimed by the prestigious Wine Enthusiast Magazine, which has crowned it the “Wine Region of the Year”. Unleash your taste buds during the restaurant week and relish in the delight of our curated Restaurant Week Tasting Flight.

Furthermore, this delightful event serves a noble purpose. All proceeds from this celebration will be generously donated to the California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRAF) to support ProStart®. The foundation supports and manages this remarkable program and reaches over 13,500 students each year in 140 public high schools throughout California, including our very own San Marcos High School.

Check out our special tasting menu below, offered at just $25!

NEW! Curated Private Tastings

Vintage wines stored in the Au Bon Climat library at the winery.

Not just a tasting, but an event. Treat yourself and impress your friends. Join us for a unique and memorable wine tasting experience curated especially for you! With our expansive breadth of vintages and classic and off beat varietals, we can create a wine tasting like no other.  Enjoy a private tasting and a one-on-one experience with our knowledgeable tasting room staff. This tasting flight is fully customizable based on our extensive tasting room and wine library inventory.

Your Curated Private Tasting includes a cheese plate prepared by our favorite local cheese shop with a worldwide collection of artisanal cheeses.

All Private Tastings need to be booked one week in advance. Price is $75-$100 per person, depending on wines chosen. (Each $500 wine purchase waives one tasting fee).

A deposit is required to hold reservation. Reservation for parties of 2-8 people (Non-drinkers should be included in the headcount).

For availability, recommendations, and customization, please contact Wiktoria Marroquin, Tasting Room Manager at wiktoria@aubonclimat.com.

NOTE: We advise making a booking at least one week in advance.