November 2022 Wine Club Newsletter

The Latest from Au Bon Climat

We are excited to share our first digital newsletter with our loyal wine club members! Scroll through to see what we’ve been up to lately at Au Bon Climat, including special accounts of Harvest 2022, new limited time offerings and of course, what to expect for your November 2022 Wine Shipment. As always, we are grateful for your support over the years! Cheers!

Upcoming Events to Note

November 25th-27 Library Weekend
November Library Weekend

The tasting room will have a special library flight featuring older vintages of “family” wines such as Knox and Isabelle Pinots. They will be for sale too! Wine Club library tasting fee: $25; General library tasting fee: $35. Every $100 spent waives one tasting fee.

December 9th-11th Holiday Celebration Weekend
Holiday Celebration Weekend

Shop local! We have specially priced wine packages and half bottles of Pinot stocking stuffers. Knox and Isabelle Clendenen will be on hand Sunday, Dec. 11 to sign bottles. There will be new ABC merchandise in stock, including hoodies and the limited edition 40th anniversary baseball caps.

january 14th-15 jim clendenen birthday celebration
Jim’s Birthday Celebration

It’s Jim Clendenen’s birthday month and we are planning to celebrate! Great wines will abound! Come dressed as the man himself. Loud, colorful, outrageous tee-shits or Hawaiian shirts encouraged and we’ll have a new ABC logo Hawaiian shirt in stock to shop for the occasion – Jim would approve! 

Included in this Shipment

Wine Club Shipping Costs Commercial shipping cost, across the board, has had hefty increases – twice this year. We work diligently to find the best service at the least expensive cost for you. Consequently, we will be using UPS going forward for club shipments. We have they found UPS better at getting shipments to their destination in a timely fashion. Contact us with any concerns.

2020 Au Bon Climat Hildegard Estate White Blend, Santa Maria Valley

2020 Au Bon Climat Hildegard Estate White Blend, Santa Maria Valley

The 2020 is a distinctive blend of 50% Pinot Gris, 45% Pinot Blanc and 5% Aligoté and gets the best of everything including extra barrel time in all new François Frères french oak. It has a texture, complexity, and distinctiveness that cannot be found in a single white wine varietal. The lovely aroma apple and pear along with vanillin and hazelnuts notes from the oak, and a mouth-coating richness, makes for a wine that seems like Chardonnay. Positively regal. Scored 94 points/Editor’s Choice Wine Enthusiast, 93 points Vinous, 93 points Jeb Dunnuck.

2021 Clendenen Family Chenin Blanc, Rancho La Cuna, Santa Barbara County

2021 Clendenen Family Chenin Blanc, Rancho La Cuna, Santa Barbara County

The 2021 is the fourth vintage of Chenin Blanc from vines at Rancho La Cuna planted eight years ago. This is a dry, friendly white showing classic quince and crisp apple-like flavors that are beautifully stated. Barrel fermentation in neutral french oak barrels until dry, compliments the intriguing minerality and firm acidity.

2018 Clendenen Family Chardonnay, Le Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley

2018 Clendenen Family Chardonnay, Le Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley

It is one of the finest Chardonnays we produce year after year. Bright citrus, apple blossom, spicy oak, and some chalky minerality all emerge from this wine. Beautifully balanced, classic, impeccably made. It has plenty of density and concentration, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish. Enjoy now or put in the cellar. Score 94 points Antonio Galloni’s Vinous; 94 points Wine & Spirits Magazine; 94 Wine Enthusiast; 93 Jeb Dunnuck.

2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

From this great historic vineyard, we select grapes from one of the “old vine, own rooted” sections at Sanford and Benedict. Hand picking, a cold extended soak and a slower fermentation, along with 50% whole cluster increased the fruit driven aromas and flavors extracted from the grapes. It was aged for 20 months in French oak, 50% new barrels. As usual, this is a wonderful expression of this vineyard. So many aromas slowly rise out of the glass: strawberry compote, coffee, cola, and black licorice are just a few of the many and constantly evolving elements in the bouquet. Scored 94 Robert Parker; 93 points Wine & Spirits Magazine; 93 points Wine Enthusiast; 92+ points Jeb Dunnuck; 92 points Vinous.

2018 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, “Larmes de Grappe”, Sta. Rita Hills

2018 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, “Larmes de Grappe”, Sta. Rita Hills

Our 2018 Larmes de Grappe is from a special section of old vine Pinot Noir grown at Sanford and Benedict Vineyard. The wine received all the TLC it needed to earn the “tears of the grape” adage. This included 100% whole cluster fermentation and 100% new French oak, specially made 350 liter barrels, where it aged for two years. The wine is a deep crimson and shows a wild strawberry and red berry character backed by judicious oak. The flavors seem to last forever along with an elegant mouthfeel.  Scored 93 points Wine & Spirits Magazine; 93 points Wine Enthusiast. 

2018 Clendenen Family Pinot Noir, Rancho La Cuna, Santa Barbara County

2018 Clendenen Family Pinot Noir, Rancho La Cuna, Santa Barbara County

The Clendenen Family Pinots have a lot “goin’ on”. This wine is striking in the glass, a very clear and dark red that is a result of good winemaking and great raw material. It is supple, elegant and so well balanced that the many varied flavors coexist harmoniously all in one wine. This wine starts with aromas of green tea, black tea, pomegranate and cherries. The accompanying flavors are of red licorice, clove, tea and chocolate covered cherries. It is a stately, balanced wine. Scored 94 points Wine Enthusiast; 92 points Wine & Spirits Magazine, 92 points Vinous, 90+ points Jeb Dunnuck.

2018 Barham Mendelsohn Pinot Noir, Estate Grown, Russian River Valley

2018 Barham Mendelsohn Pinot Noir, Estate Grown, Russian River Valley

The fruit hails from the organically farmed Lala Panzi Vineyard in the Russian River Valley known for their racy Pinot Noirs.  We sort vigorously in the vineyard and ferment slowly to extract pretty Pinot flavors. It is a rich Pinot Noir with black cherry, cassis and cocoa flavors that are beautifully balanced and necessary to allow it to age perfectly. Nuances of Chinese five spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom, are followed with a balanced vanillin note from the new French oak barrels. 

Special HolidaY Offerings

A sneak peak at a few of our special offerings in honor of the Holiday season. Get ahead on your holiday shopping, email Nicole at to purchase…

Candy Cane Pack

One bottle each 2021 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County | $46

Historic Vineyard Gift Set

One bottle each 2019 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard | $85

Three Kings

One bottle each Au Bon Climat 2019 Pinot Noir Knox Alexander, 2020 Pinot Noir Isabelle, and 2018 Chardonnay Nuits-Blanches au Bouge | $166

The Ultimate: Santa’s Deluxe Gift Set

One bottle each Au Bon Climat 2018 Pinot Noir Lames de Grappe, 2019 Pinot Noir Knox Alexander, 2020 Pinot Noir Isabelle, 2020 Hildegard, 2018 Chardonnay Nuits-Blanches au Bouge, 2018 Chardonnay 33rd Vintage Celebration Sanford & Benedict Vineyard | $350

FYI: Shipping Schedule for the Holidays Last year, we experienced shipping delays due to COVID. Unfortunately, this year will likely bring delays as well. Ground shipping deadline is Friday, December 14th for delivery before December 25th. Please plan accordingly. 

"Shop Our Holiday Gift Sets" over an image of two Au Bon Climat bottles in front of a fireplace with a Christmas tree in the background

A Wild Ride for 2022 Harvest

Recap: Harvest 2022

The 2022 harvest was challenging with its ill-timed rains and heat spikes, but our winery team is good at navigating around potential threats like these. You might say we are at our best when we get out of our comfort zone and guide the grapes to the best possible solution. Experience counts and we have been doing it for decades – with the same team! The high level of quality we deliver year after year in every wine speaks volumes. Our library wines attest to that. ▲

Knox’s Harvest Experience

A firsthand account of Knox Clendenen’s inaugural harvest with au bon climat

Knox Alexander Clendenen from Au Bon Climat Winery in Santa Barbara County

This has been my first harvest at ABC, and to say the least it has been an amalgamation of chaos and education. Since I started fresh out of college (graduated in August), I was not in the best of shape. After foot stomping grapes, doing punch-downs, moving bins, climbing barrels and everything in between, harvest has chipped away at my sloppy physique. I have learned a great deal in a very short amount of time, especially the qualities and philosophies that make Au Bon Climat unique. 

A normal day for me was starting the morning with punch-downs, then processing any reds that came in, cleaning the equipment afterwards, doing a second round of punch downs, and cleaning out fermenters that were being pressed. Harvest is not about doing a single job continuously; instead, it is about adapting and moving from one objective to another. Constantly changing the task made harvest seem a lot less repetitive than I had anticipated. 

The worst part about harvest is the state of my hands and fingernails. No matter how hard you scrub and clean you cannot remove the grime underneath your nails. Anytime I go to a store and people see my hands they think I am a troglodyte that knows not of the modern standards of cleanliness. Other than that, I have no real complaints, harvest is harvest, it’s never easy and that is to be expected. The real beauty of harvest is the people you bond with through the grueling labor. People who share the same passion and curiosity in winemaking. To be able to create something so elegant through what could be seen as a very crude process is what truly inspires and encourages me to work, and more importantly, learn. ▲

– Knox Alexander Clendenen