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

Mom’s Heartwarming Spin on Hungarian Lecso/Lecho/Leczo

The Perfect Comforting Stew for Cool Evenings From WikToria

Wiktoria Marroquin at Au Bon Climat Winery

As the cold raindrops gently tap on the window pane and a soft breeze whispers through the trees, there’s nothing quite like the comforting embrace of a warm bowl of Hungarian lecso. This cherished family recipe has been passed down through generations, and it holds a special place in our hearts. Today, I’m excited to share my family’s Polish spin on this classic Hungarian stew – a dish that my Mom used to lovingly prepare on cold rainy days, making it the best comforting meal ever. Let’s dive into the heartwarming world of our Hungarian lecso!


  • 4 red peppers
  • 2 zucchinis 
  • vegetable broth
  • 1 big yellow onion
  • kielbasa (you can get a real deal one at Euro Market in Goleta, the best one is from Pulaski Meat)
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes 
  • salt 
  • pepper


  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Best Served: The Next Day
Prepare the Ingredients:

Start by washing the red peppers and zucchini thoroughly. Slice the bell peppers into thin strips, and the zucchinis into half-moons. Set them aside.

Create the Flavorful Base:

In a large pot, add some olive oil and sauté the onion until it becomes translucent and slightly caramelized. This is the foundation of our stew, adding a hint of sweetness and depth of flavor. Take your time with this step to get it just right.

Add the Peppers and Zucchini:

Once the onion is ready, add the sliced red peppers to the pot. Let them cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Then, add the zucchini and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to mingle.

Introduce the Kielbasa:

Now comes the star of our spin of lecso – the kielbasa! The most famous thing in Poland. My personal favorite is when my brother makes one from scratch but when you are an immigrant you deal with what you can find, right? Cut the kielbasa into bite-sized pieces and add them to the pot. Their smoky richness will infuse the stew with a delightful savory note.

Pour in the Crushed Tomatoes:

Open the 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and carefully pour its contents into the pot. The tangy sweetness of the tomatoes will complement the other ingredients, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.

Season to Perfection:

Season the stew with salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that the kielbasa can add some saltiness, so go easy on the salt at first, and you can always adjust later.

Simmer Slowly:

Now, it’s time to let the magic happen. Pour in the vegetable broth and 3 cups of water until all the ingredients are just covered. Bring the stew to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for at least an hour (I do 2-3 hours), stirring occasionally.

Patience Is Rewarded:

After the long, slow simmer, your Hungarian lecso will have transformed into a comforting stew with layers of rich flavors. But trust me, the patience is worth it! The next day, the flavors will have melded even further, creating a symphony of taste that will leave you wanting more.

Enjoy & Share the Love:

Serve the lecso in deep bowls and savor the heartwarming goodness with your loved ones. Don’t forget some crusty bread on the side to soak up the flavorful broth. Share stories, laughter, and the love that goes into making this treasured family recipe.

There’s something magical about the way a comforting stew can bring warmth to your soul, especially on cold evenings. Our family’s spin on Hungarian lecso has been a source of joy and comfort for generations, passed down from my Mom’s kitchen to ours (my American husband is addicted to this leczo). As you take your first spoonful of this heartwarming dish, you’ll feel the love and care that goes into each and every bowl. So, on those cool evenings when you crave a warm and comforting meal, give our Polish-Hungarian lecso a try. It’s not just a stew; it’s a taste of family tradition and the best kind of comfort food.

Sip and See: How Wines Can Accompany Films

Dean Handy from te Au Bon Climat Tasting Room

As cliché as it may sound, uncorking a bottle of wine presents a moment of opportunity. While wine can be enjoyed entirely standalone, it is typically accompanied by food, conversation, music, and sometimes movies. Wine and entertainment have had an intertwining relationship since Greek theater, so it seems only natural that sometimes sipping a wine leads to slipping into a story. 

Any bottle could be enjoyed with any film, but for the sake of experiment, I wanted to find out which Au Bon Climat wines could be elevated by fine cinema, and vice versa. I have chosen three wines that I believe structurally and thematically lend themselves to the experience and pleasure of cracking open a bottle and settling on the couch in front of the screen. Each wine will be paired with a film from its vintage date to establish a sense of time and the cultural conditions under which these wines and films were produced. Wine and film are both works of art that require intention, craftsmanship, and understanding. It makes almost too much sense to enjoy these arts together for a deeper appreciation of the relationship and synergy that exists between wine and storytelling.

Movie: Whiplash (2014) 

Wine: Clendenen Family Vineyards 2014 “Punta Exclamativa” Nebbiolo

a bottle of Clendenen Family Vineyards 2014 “Punta Exclamativa” Nebbiolo being held in front of a screen playing the movie "Whiplash" from 2014

Jim Clendenen perfectly encapsulates the essence of his 2014 Nebbiolo with his subtitle “Punta Excalativa”, which means ‘exclamation point’ when translated from Italian. On the palate, the wine is soft, structured, pronounced, and lingering. The nose, while initially intense with aromas of spice and whiskey barrels, slowly turns into beautiful dark fruit. The journey of this Nebbiolo as it goes from fierce and powerful to soft and harmonious parallels the story one finds in Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. The film follows Andrew Teller, a first-year music student who plays the drums and hopes to land a spot in a highly-competitive music conservatory. Throughout the film, Andrew is pushed to his limits by his music instructor in an intense and unforgiving fashion, but by the end of the film, the viewer is left to consider whether or not these extreme conditions are necessary to produce high art. The whole film is accompanied by punchy jazz that does not let up, similar to the story that unfolds. 

Whiplash is a film that has a pronounced point to make, even if it is not immediately apparent in the chaotic and fast-paced structure of the film’s beginning. Enjoying a glass of “Punta Exclamativa” while watching this film will reveal how intense care and dedication to one’s craft can result in a complex multi-layered end product. Both the film and wine trace how a product of art necessitates time, dedication, and understanding to result in one point of exclamation– a point that remains lingering on the mind and palette of the viewer and drinker. 

Movie: Baby Driver (2017) 

Wine: Clendenen Family Vineyards 2017 Syrah/Viognier 

a glass of Clendenen Family Vineyards 2017 Syrah/Viognier being held in front of a screen playing the movie "Baby Driver" from 2017

If the feeling one gets from Syrah/Viognier and the film Baby Driver could be captured in one word, it would be style. The Syrah and Viognier are grown together at the Rancho La Cuna property and then co-fermented, a practice seen in the Rhône region. The best part about pouring Syrah/Viognier in the tasting room is the surprise guests get when learning about the stylish and unique practices that go into the bottle. Surprise and style are also elements one can detect on the palate, as the interaction between these somewhat opposing grape varietals works magnificently. The pepper and medium body one expects from Syrah is reined in by the supple richness of the Viognier, resulting in an unexpected mix of blackberry, cream, and earth tones. 

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver follows the structure of Syrah/Viognier in the sense that surprise and style are at the forefront of the film. The movie follows Baby, a getaway driver who works for a heist crew, but Wright inserts a stylish plot device, as Baby is unable to perform his best unless a killer soundtrack is pumping through his earbuds. Another fundamental component of the film is the fast-paced, yet carefully crafted dialogue which makes the film not only fun but complex. Uncorking a bottle of Syrah/Viognier and firing up Baby Driver is a combination that will not let you down. Surprise, fun, style, and cleverness are tenants of both this wine and film and will leave you wanting a sequel… and another bottle. 

Movie: Us (2019) 

Wine: Au Bon Climat 2019 Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir

a bottle of Au Bon Climat 2019 Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir being held in front of a screen playing the movie "Us" from 2019

Jim Clendenen demonstrates his masterclass winemaking practices with one of the last vintages he produced in his 2019 Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir. Simply put, it is a deep and dark iteration of a pinot noir that keeps you engaged with a sense of balance and thought-provoking complexity. Similarly, Us is an attentive and grippy horror film that has the viewer leaning into the thought of a dark and hidden world. The makeup of the film tracks the structure and practices of the wine, as the Sanford grapes are fermented 50% whole cluster and spend 20 months in 50% new french oak to unlock a rigorous smoky profile from these pinot grapes. This results in one of Jim’s most unique takes on the pinot noir varietal, one that asks you to look at pinot noir from a new perspective. 

Jordan Peele’s Us is his sophomore film as a horror movie director, and it leans heavily into themes of an unearthed reality. These themes are accentuated by Peele’s clever use of lighting, shadow, and color which are pervasive throughout the film. Since the film hinges on the viewer finding this dark and hidden world on their own a plot synopsis will not be provided, but one can guarantee it will be engaging. Drinking 2019 Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir when viewing this film is undoubtedly a complimentary experience. Both the wine and the film ask the viewer to be engaged, questioning, and thoughtful, Furthermore, the deep nature of each art piece begs the enjoyer to ultimately lean fully into a world that had not previously crossed their mind.

— Dean Handy, Au Bon Climat Tasting Room

Immerse yourself in the world of wine and cinema with these thoughtfully curated pairings. Don’t miss the chance to elevate your movie nights and experience the enchanting synergy of wine and storytelling. You can purchase these exceptional wines for your own ‘Sip and See’ experience in our online store. From the intense journey of the Clendenen Family Vineyards 2014 ‘Punta Exclamativa’ Nebbiolo, mirroring the transformation of ‘Whiplash,’ to the stylish surprise of the Clendenen Family Vineyards 2017 Syrah/Viognier, perfectly complementing ‘Baby Driver,’ and the deep complexity of the Au Bon Climat 2019 Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir resonating with the gripping horror of ‘Us.’ Be sure to let us know if you have any suggestions for our next installment of ‘Sip and See.’ Cheers to the delightful pairing of fine wines and captivating films!

Santa Barbara Farmers Market, A Perfect Pairing

You can find Lily Jones in the Santa Barbara tasting room of Au Bon Climat Winery

What better wine pairing than with fresh produce from our local farmers? Lining State Street on Tuesday afternoons, just around the corner from the tasting room, the Santa Barbara Farmers Market is an excellent jaunt. 

A bottle of 2019 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir by Au Bon Climat - "La Bauge Au-dessus" sitting amongst small baskets of fresh tomatoes at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market

Frecker Farms tomatoes are the freshest heirloom and cherry tomatoes around. Just look at those colors! An excellent pairing with La Bauge Au Dessus Pinot, consider charring the tomatoes on the grill or having them fresh with burrata and balsamic glaze.

Shop the 2019 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir – “La Bauge Au-dessus”

A bottle of 2020 Santa Ynez Valley, Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay by Au Bon Climat sitting on a checkered tablecloth with bundles of santa barbara farmers market radishes behind

What a plentiful stand Jimenez Family Farm has- from radishes and turnips to rhubarb pie! This pairing couldn’t get more French- try a spicy radish, lathered in butter and a sprinkle of flaky salt, with our 2020 Sanford Chardonnay.

Shop the 2020 Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay

a bottle of 2019 Clendenen Family Vineyards Tocai Friulano standing in the midst of hundreds of fresh peaches at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market

Peach season is finally here! No better way to pair a fresh stone fruit than with a wine that is so reminiscent of them. Try the Tocai Friulano with a peach crumble, or a fresh peach and mint salad. Say hello to James at the Fair Hills Farms stand, and compliment him on his photography skills (shown above).

Shop the 2019 Tocai Friulano

a bottle of Clendenen Family Vineyards 2021 Pinot Gris sitting on a blue table cloth with small baskets of ripe figs around at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market

These figs from Avila and Sons Farms Figs are a perfect snack on a hot day drizzled with honey, paired with a glass of 2021 Pinot Gris. Preferably sitting on a patio with a good view or a great book.

Shop the 2021 Pinot Gris

a bottle of 2022 Mondeuse Rosé by Clendenen Family Vineyards standing on a polk-a-dot table with stacks of fresh pies around from Jimenez Family Farms in white boxes and small pie tins at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market

Our tasting room manager Wiktoria loves rhubarb. She also loves the 2022 Mondeuse Rosé. She feels there may be no greater match than our rosé with the Marcie’s Rhubarb Pie from Jimenez Family Farms. Please share with loved ones. And Wiktoria.

Shop the 2022 Mondeuse Rosé

No greater backdrop than fresh flowers! Visit Roots Organic Farm and treat yourself to some gorgeous marigolds, corn flowers, pea flowers, snapdragons, lavender, you name it! The visual sense is crucial to our palates, and fresh flowers enhance the joie de vivre that our wines create.

Shop the 2019 Tocai Friulano & the 2021 Pinot Gris

— Lily, Au Bon Climat Tasting Room

As the sun sets on the bustling Santa Barbara Farmers Market, we are reminded of the inherent connection between nature’s bounty and the art of winemaking. The symphony of flavors that emanates from our wines finds its perfect accompaniment in the freshest, locally sourced produce and the beauty of vibrant flowers. We invite you to immerse yourself in this delightful pairing experience, celebrating the essence of our region’s agriculture, craftsmanship, and community spirit. Join us at our tasting room, where each sip of wine harmonizes with the abundance of nature, creating an unforgettable sensory journey that truly captures the spirit of Santa Barbara. Come, raise your glass, and toast to the perfect pairing of the Santa Barbara Farmers Market and our exceptional wines. Cheers!

May 2023 Wine Club Newsletter

The Latest from Au Bon Climat

Scroll through for the latest news and updates from Au Bon Climat including a delicious recipe from our Cellar Master, Enrique Rodriguez, read an interesting piece that will help you open your next “aged to perfection” bottle, plus meet our new Tasting Room Manager, Wiktoria! And as always, find the tasting notes and details for the wines featured in your May Wine Club Shipment below!




Our May Wine Club Shipment is particularly outstanding. Many are limited edition wines that will sell out quickly. You may just want to add on to your shipment and take advantage of our new rates!

We are excited about the two add-on specials being offered in addition to the wines in the club shipment.  While we have been making Mondeuse (Rosé) and Syrah (Syrah/Viognier) for decades, it is the first time creating them into 100% red varietal wines under the Clendenen Family label.

Clendenen Family 2018 Mondeuse (Noire) Bien Nacido Estate Plantings,
Santa Maria Valley $25

Great value! This offbeat, French varietal creates a delicious, juicy red wine with deep color and a berry/peppery flavor. Blackberry, plum, pomegranate appear up front, with nuances of clove and black olive on the back palette helping to create a savory and food-friendly wine. 

Clendenen Family 2018 Syrah “Z Block”, Bien Nacido Estate Plantings
Santa Maria Valley $75

This is an intensely purple, opaque wine with gobs of fruit suggesting crushed blackberries, fresh violets, and earthy spice from one of the great Syrah blocks in America. The palate is rich and structured with an amazingly deep Syrah character that makes this wine intriguing and worthy of aging for years to come.


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 bottles you’d like to add, then click on Save Selection located on top. If you would like to add on wines outside of the wine club portal, please email us the selection, we will do our best to accommodate. You have now customized your shipment! To see the total breakdown, including shipping discount, click on TOTAL.  

Upcoming Events to Note In MAY…

ANNUAL Wine Club Pickup Party

Experience the ultimate celebration of wine and cuisine at our exclusive Annual Wine Club Pick-Up Party, hosted at the breathtaking Au Bon Climat winery. Join us for a lovely afternoon on our Bien Nacido Vineyard, surrounded by lush vines and rolling green hills for this special event that simply can’t be missed. 

All Club Members are welcome! Make your reservation today!

Included in this Shipment…

2018 Au Bon Climat Reserve Pinot Noir “Les Révélés” Lingua Franca Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon

We were fortunate to get fruit from the prestigious, estate vineyard of Lingua Franca located in Williamette Valley’s Eola-Amity Hills AVA, and set aside a few of our best barrels to create this Reserve. It is off-the-charts spectacular, loaded with crushed blackberry/cherry/blueberry fruit with intriguing nuances of anise, lavender, pink peppercorn, and oak vanillin. The underlying power and complexity are ‘under the surface’ currently, but will be apparent soon. Don’t miss out!

A picture of a red wine bottle - 2018 Au Bon Climat Reserve Pinot Noir "Les Révélés" Lingua Franca Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
A picture of a white wine bottle - 2020 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Santa Barbara Historic Vineyard Collection. Sta. Rita Hills

2020 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Santa Barbara Historic Vineyard Collection. Sta. Rita Hills

Another exceptional wine from the first great vineyard in Santa Barbara County. Spiced orchard fruits, citrus, brioche, and toasty oak as well as hints of nuttiness all emerge in the glass. The palate grips with crushed rock minerality giving frame to the stone fruit and citrus flavors. Medium-bodied and well structured, it has bright acidity and a clean, vibrant, pure style that’s going to gain richness and depth with a year or two of bottle age and keep for a decade.

The 2019 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 34th Anniversary Celebration Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

Welcoming aromas of macadamia nut, cream, sweet butter and orange zest are joined by flavors of coconut, cherimoya, and other creamy, white fleshed fruit backed by hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and minerality notes. Though a rich, opulent wine, it is focused and tight in style that should build nicely with bottle age.

A picture of a bottle of Chardonnay wine - The 2019 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 34th Anniversary Celebration Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
A picture of a bottle of Pinot Noir - 2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “La Bauge Au-dessus” Santa Maria Valley

2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “La Bauge Au-dessus” Santa Maria Valley

“La Bauge Au-dessus” translates as a “wild party upstairs.” A classic Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir, it is a wine of great aromatics and character showing cherry/cranberry fruit, rose petal, earth and spice. The key word is balance. A balance of oak and fruit, a balance of tannin and acid, and a balance of elegance and intensity. This delicious, Old World Burgundy style Pinot Noir does not compete with food but maximizes the dining experience by complimenting whatever is paired with it. The wine is crafted to have a more integrated structure and suppleness early on, making it enjoyable now, though it will continue to age handsomely.

2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “Knox Alexander”, Santa Maria Valley

“Knox Alexander” Pinots represent the very best lots of Santa Maria Valley fruit we make each year. This wine does not disappoint. A fragrant, multi-layered 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. It is very focused on the palate, in a tight, racy style. Wonderful now but will reward those who age it for years to come.

A picture of a bottle of Pinot Noir - 2019 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “Knox Alexander”, Santa Maria Valley
A picture of a bottle of red wine - 2017 Clendenen Family 90% Syrah/10% Viognier, Santa Barbara County

2017 Clendenen Family 90% Syrah/10% Viognier, Santa Barbara County

The Syrah and Viognier grapes were co-fermented, 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. This deeply colored wine has a gorgeous perfume of crushed blackberries, fresh violets, black pepper, and earthy spice that carries through to a rich, supple palate. Five years aging in 500-liter oak puncheons ensures it is imminently enjoyable now, and a perfect companion to hearty dishes like cassoulet or grilled pork chops.

2021 Clendenen Family Pinot Gris, Santa Maria Valley

This delightful 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.

A picture of a bottle of Pinot Gris - 2021 Clendenen Family Pinot Gris, Santa Maria Valley

Nicole’s Maternity Leave

A picture of Nicole Wasserman, our DTC Director, holding a glass of wine.

We are excited to announce that DTC Manager Nicole Wasserman is expecting her first child in May! With that being said, she will be on maternity leave from April-August. Wiktoria and Lily will be covering for her during those months. If you need to contact us regarding your membership, please email

Flat Rate Shipping – Good News!

Damn Amazon. Who doesn’t love free shipping? For small businesses, it’s prohibitively costly. With all its regulations and surcharges, it is nearly impossible for a winery to absorb the cost of shipping wine.

Shipping costs in the past year have exploded. We know, and you have told us how unhappy you are with the increased costs. We have explored many ways to reduce the shipping costs.

Good News! We have negotiated with our shipping company to dramatically reduce our shipping costs. We are seeing an average reduction of about 28%, and for some East Coast deliveries as much as a 45% reduction.

With these lower costs, we are implementing Flat Rate Shipping. Based on your delivery address, our shipping rates will be the same for 1-3 bottles, 4-6 bottles or 7 – 12 bottles. This rate will be used for Wine Club shipments and wines ordered off our website.

A UPS driver speeds by delivering packages.

Thanksgiving Potato and Celery Root Gratin

A festive dish perfect for this time of year created by our General Manager, Michael Melusky. This recipe was created after a bountiful day at a farmers’ market in the South of France to accompany roasted leg of lamb; plus serve a dual purpose as a way to use up the week’s leftover cheese.

On its own, the Potato & Celery Root Gratin pairs perfectly with the Le Bon Climat Chardonnay, but as a side dish for Thanksgiving with all the other competing flavors, Hildegard is the perfect Thanksgiving wine.  The go to red wine for Thanksgiving would have to be the Le Bon Climat Pinot Noir. Both are meant to be enjoyed with those you love. 

Scalloped gratin potatoes topped with grated cheese and herbs. Recipes, Au Bon Climat, Thanksgiving Recipes, Wine Pairings


  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 1 large celery root
  • 4 tbs Butter
  • 3 tbs Flour
  • 2 cups heavy Cream or half and half
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere Cheese, or mixture
  • 1 cup Panko
  • Nutmeg
  • White pepper


Peel potatoes and celery root, celery roots can be quite large so you may want to split it down the middle. Using a mandolin or paddle slicer, thinly slice peeled potatoes and celery root.

Spray a nonstick spray or butter a baking dish.  Alternate layers of potatoes and celery root.  

Separately Warm up one cup chicken stock and two cups half and half or heavy cream in the microwave.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan; once it’s melted add 3 tablespoons of flour, whisk together for a minute to create a roux.  Slowly whisk in cup of chicken stock, will quickly create thick paste.  Slowly whisk in two cups of cream.  Let it thicken a few minutes, whisking occasionally, be careful not to let come to a boil.  Add about 2 cups of cheese.  Use Gruyere as a base but if you add other cheeses as well it can create better flavor, add some truffle cheese for a bit of decadence.  Stir until cheese melts and blends into white sauce. Add nutmeg and white pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over the potatoes. Jiggle the dish to make sure the sauce filters down through all the layers.  

You can cover and refrigerate for a couple hours at this point.  Let it get to room temp before baking.  

Cook for an hour in a 350-degree oven. Cover for the first half hour and then uncover and sprinkle Panko and return to over for last 15 to 30 min.  Insert knife in center to ensure potatoes are fully cooked.  Depending on how full you made the dish you may want to bake with a cookie sheet under it.  Can bubble over.