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!



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

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 Quantities are limited.


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.



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

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.

February 2023 Wine Club Newsletter

The Latest from Au Bon Climat

Scroll through for latest news and updates from Au Bon Climat including a great recipe to pair with your favorite Pinots, an update from the vineyard in regard to our recent rainfall, a special add-on offer… plus tasting notes and details for the wines featured in your February Wine Club Shipment! Enjoy our February Wine Club Newsletter!


February Add-On Special: ENJOY 50% OFF TOTAL SHIPPING

“Best of 2017” Six Bottle Bundle 

We have selected six wines that stand out from the 2017 vintage, representing different styles, and that have multiple scores in the 90s. Add this bundle to your club shipment and get 50% OFF total shipping! To do this you will need to adjust your shipment by February 6th. The directions are straightforward and provided below…

2017 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 32nd Vintage Celebration Sanford & Benedict

This truly regal wine is made for those that appreciate creamy, richly textured Chardonnays. There is lots of buttered citrus, orchard fruits and slight pineapple notes as well as spice, toasty oak. It is focused and precise on the palate, has good mid-palate depth, and outstanding length. Scored 95 points Wine Enthusiast; 93 points Jeb Dunnuck; 92 points Wine & Spirits Magazine.

2017 Clendenen Family Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard

A knockout – rich, creamy, balanced. For this limited edition Chard, the finest lots of Bien Nacido fruit were barrel fermented in super expensive, custom-made Francois Freres barrels. The style is more complex and intense than our ABC counterpart. Scored 95 points Antonio Galloni’s Vinous; 93 points Jeb Dunnuck; 93 points Wine & Spirits Magazine.

2017 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “Isabelle”

Our richest, most heralded Pinot begins with aromas of mulled berries and blossoms with a touch of tobacco and earth. The center delivers a luminous raspberry sweetness that grows in lift and expression as it opens. Scored 96 points Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 92 points Wine & Spirits Magazine.

2017 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard

This single vineyard Pinot delivers depth. The 2017 is a rich, meaty red with a dense fruit character showing earthy, berry aromas joined by mouth-filling flavors of plum and bitter chocolate on the palate. Aged 18 months in french oak barrels, one third new. Scored 91 points & Best Buy from Wine & Spirits Magazine.

2017 Barham Mendelsohn Pinot Noir

Pinot from this region has a signature spice. When meticulously grown, organic fruit meets stellar winemaking, the result is a sophisticated, beautifully balanced red showing racy, deep berry fruit, and an intriguing Oriental spice character that is mouth-filling.

2017 Black By Black (Bordeaux Blend)

This is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot showing a classic dark berry character with back notes of sage and tobacco. Aged about 24 months in barrel, it received all the necessary TLC in the cellar to create a dark, rich red that has benefited from bottle age.


Within your wine club shipment email, click on the Adjust Your Shipment button. On the next page, under the blue menu banner on top in the right corner, click on the button Edit Wines. Select the February Add-On Bundle, 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

Upcoming Events to Note…

Au BOn Climat at World Of Pinot Noir 

This elite three day event is held at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara includes luncheons, spectacular themed dinners, 2 days of Grand Tastings, must-see seminars, and an Opening Night Party – whew! Get your tickets now! Some events have already sold out. As of this writing, Friday and Saturday Grand Tasting tickets are available. Au Bon Climat will be participating in Saturday’s Grand Tasting. We always have something intriguing. See you there!

Special Pinot Noir Flight at THE Tasting Room

In honor of World of Pinot Noir, our tasting room will be pouring a special Pinot Noir flight that weekend. Make a reservation here.

SAVE THE DATE: Wine Club Pickup Party

A wonderful afternoon in wine country! The perfect Mother’s Day adventure. Includes a memorable luncheon, wine tasting stations, and special wines for sale including The Bargain Table. Each membership can invite 3 guests, for a total of 4. All club members are welcome! Reservations will go live April 1st.

Included in this Shipment…

2020 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay, “Nuits Blanches au Bouge – Hindsight”, Santa Maria Valley

Another brilliant version of this wine with textbook Chardonnay notes of pear, ripe stone fruits, caramelized lemons, chalky minerality, and toasted spice. Aged in new French oak barrels for 18 months, it’s medium-bodied and balanced, with a great mid-palate as well as impressive length. Each vintage this wine gets new designation. “Hindsight” was a natural with the 2020 vintage. 

2020 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay, Bien Nacido Vineyard – Santa Barbara Historic Vineyard Collection, Santa Maria Valley

The aroma immediately reveals this is obviously Chardonnay made in an Old World style. Tightly woven aromas of nectarine and peach are clean and delicate on the nose of this single-vineyard showcase. A chalky backbone holds up the palate, where creamier subtle notes of gardenia and coconut arise. Scored 93 points Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

2020 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “Isabelle”

A blend of our top Pinot barrels from different vineyard sources, the Isabelle Pinot is Au Bon Climat’s most highly regarded. It is a bright and effusive wine with tons of aromatic presence and fine balance. Sweet red cherry fruit, orange peel, spice, and dried herbs open first, followed by a host of perfumed floral notes that lead into the mid-palate and finish. Silky and quite elegant, all it really needs time in the bottle to come into its own.

2020 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard – Santa Barbara Historic Vineyard Collection, Santa Barbara County

True to Los Alamos wine region, this Pinot has a dense, straight forward fruit character. Aromas of ripe cherry/red berries are joined on the palate by nuances of forest floor, bitter chocolate, cola and vanilla that mesh to create a beautifully balanced wine that is enjoyable now but will develop for years to come. Aged 18 months in new French oak barrels.

2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Lala Panzi Vineyard, Russian River Valley

This organically grown Pinot is luscious, feminine, pretty, aromatic…it tastes like the Russian River Valley. Along with the red berry/cranberry fruit character, this lovely wine shows an amazing array of aromas and flavors – Chinese five spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom, followed with a balanced vanillin note from 50% new French Oak barrels.

2021 Grenache Gris, Rancho La Cuna, Santa Barbara County

Grenache Gris has its origins in the south of France. Our version is an easy drinking, dry white that has massive appeal, with structure and flavors not unlike an expensive White Hermitage with its restrained stone fruit character and mineral backbone. From Clendenen estate in Los Alamos, the fruit is barrel fermented and aged briefly 8 months in neutral french oak.

2018 Grenache, Rancho La Cuna, Santa Barbara County

A beautifully balanced but structured Grenache with whimsical berry and earth notes in the nose followed by deeper berry and spice notes on the palate. Only a few barrels made of this wine.


Q: How is the rainy, winter weather affecting the vines in your area?

Simply put, for the most part, welcome! California has been in a drought for many years which has concentrated the salt deposits in the soil to a level where it was becoming toxic. Salts in soil contain important micronutrients, but some—like sodium, chloride and boron—carry a toxic punch if left to accumulate. The ocean influence in the geology of Santa Barbara along with a drier climate makes this a concern particularly for growers here. With the needed rain, the salts are flushed, or leached, and necessary salts and minerals spread out for a more balanced growing environment. The intense rains have recharged drought-thirsty aquifers and water tables have revitalized the vines. If only the rains could have come over a longer, less intense period…

We have also had some nice frosty weather providing good chill hours for dormancy. In addition, bugs and pests don’t survive as well in the cold. This contributes to a healthy bud break.

Giving Back (in style)

Au Bon Climat partners with other local vintners to benefit Direct Relief—plus, a special dinner in honor of jim clendenen

Frank Ostini and Jim Clendenen

Yes, you can have fun while helping others! The Santa Barbara Wine Auction happens every other year to benefit Direct Relief, with the most current held in November 2022. The event allows everyone to put on their best and raise funds for the international humanitarian aid organization that is based in Santa Barbara. An amazing selection of wines, winery experiences, and lifestyle packages go up for bid to raise funds. Our local vintners always rise to the occasion, and Au Bon Climat has long been a great supporter. 

For our donation, Au Bon Climat offered a double vertical of incredibly rare wines; our Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Chardonnay, 1997 – 2020 and Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noir 1997 – 2020, raising $30,000.  These wines were chosen as an homage to the history and impact both Jim Clendenen and Sanford and Benedict Vineyard have done to elevate the renown of Santa Barbara County wines.  

At that same event, Frank Ostini of The Hitching Post wanted to up the ante with a ‘go big, or go home’ donation that was a salute to his dear friend Jim. He took the reins and created a Jim Clendenen Memorial Dinner to be held at the Hitching Post Restaurant in Buellton this February with each seat costing $1000. Over 100 successful bidders will be attending meaning over $100,000 to this great cause. Most guests are close friends of Jim, traveling from as far as Tennessee, Hawaii, Georgia, and New Jersey for the tribute. Frank is coordinating a multi-course salute that includes guest chef Roy Yamaguchi from Roy’s Hawaii who is flying in to create a course, along with local chef Clark Staub from Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos.  The event features large format, library wines of Jim’s dating back to 1980s to match each course. ▲

DONATE NOW: If you would like to support Direct Relief, click below…

Direct Relief is a nonprofit that seeks to improve the health and lives of people, worldwide, affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. The overhead is minimal, so you know your donation is going to where it is needed most.

Au Bon Climat in Asia

FAMILIAR FACES WHILE ABROAD—look for au bon climat traveling through asia

Isabelle with new friends in Japan

The thrill of exploring and experiencing something for the first time can be the best part of traveling, however, sometimes seeing a reminder of home while traveling provides a bit of comfort in an otherwise exotic place.  Should your travels take you to Asia, you may be surprised to see Au Bon Climat on many wine lists.  This is a result of Jim Clendenen’s own wanderlust. Jim had a particular affinity for Japan and was viewed as a celebrity by the wine community. He established key relationships in Japan decades ago which remain today.  It is our second largest export market, just behind the UK.  In recent years we have seen tremendous growth in other parts of Asia, specifically South Korea and China.

Asia is very familiar territory for the second generation Clendenens. At the end of February both Knox (who just finished college in Tokyo) and Isabelle (Japan minor in college) will be leading tastings in Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul.  After many visits to Japan with their father and then on their own, Knox and Isabelle are becoming the new face of Au Bon Climat in Asia. ▲

Happy 70th Birthday, Jim!

Celebrating Jim clendenen all month LONG…

In honor of Jim’s birthday month, we’re offering 15% off Clendenen Family Vineyards wines, Jim’s passion project label, through entire month of January!

Jim Clendenen through the years

“Life is a Banquet, and Most Poor Suckers Are Starving to Death.” – Auntie Mame

Jim Clendenen enjoyed a good party. If he wasn’t going to one, he would create it. It was hard to tell the difference between work and play since it was one in the same to him.  In essence, his life was a party! Being a good businessman and living every moment to the fullest is a balance hard to manage. Jim traveled continuously but every year in December he traveled to another continent (or two) for a 3-4 week luxury vacation enjoying whatever location he landed in to the hilt – with a little work thrown in. Ideally his kids Isabelle and Knox would join him. There were trips to from Antarctica, the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, to Japan, always frequenting the best restaurants, no matter how obscure or costly. Each trip culminated in celebrating his birthday on Jan. 11th in style, before returning. It’s that joie de vivre we are trying capture. This would have been Jim’s 70th birthday and we decided to celebrate it for him – Jim Clendenen style. Join us in the celebration!

January 2023 CFV WIne Special

Start the year off right—join the Au Bon Climat Wine Club ! Members enjoy exclusive releases, discounts on special tastings & events, and Au Bon Climat wines delivered right to your doorstop at 15-25% off!

Plus, for the month of January, combine your wine club discount with our Clendenen Family Vineyards 15% off promotion to enjoy maximum savings!▲

Join us January 14th & 15th


Join us in celebrating the big man’s Birthday—Jim style. Wild, colorful tees or loud Hawaiian shirts are encouraged! Shirt participants eligible for prizes! Share your Jim stories with other devotees while enjoying the wide range of Clendenen Family wines at the Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Tasting Room.