2012 Au Bon Climat, Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir, Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA

2012 Au Bon Climat, Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir, Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA

Product: 20121170823
Prices start from £475.00 per case Buying options
2012 Au Bon Climat, Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir, Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA


Pale, with a haunting red fruit nose. All new (French) oak but you’d never guess, such is the integration of wood and purity of the fruit. This oozes Pinot Noir character. Crunchy red fruit on the palate – redcurrants and cherries at the forefront. This is amazingly fleet footed and dances across the palate with a finish that seems to last for minutes. I’ve long been an admirer of ABC’s Pinots but this seems to be on another level. California’s answer to Chambolle Musigny perhaps? Totally irresistible now, this will be capable of ageing for another 5+ years. Fergus Stewart, Private Account Manager

The 2012 Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir has a full nose of red cherries and ripe strawberries. The macerated morello cherry character continues on the palate, complemented by subtle notes of oak and vanilla. The beauty of this wine comes through on the refreshing, herbaceous edge to the palate, which has grip and presence, with the tannins adding definition. This could do with another year perhaps to be at its peak but is already a wonderful wine.
Catriona Felstead MW, Wine Buyer

Founded in 1982, Au Bon Climat (which the winemaker translates as "a well-exposed vineyard") produces internationally-recognized Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc wine from grapes grown in California's Santa Barbara County. The Au Bon Climat winery is located on the world-famous Bien Nacido Vineyard, and is owned by winemaker Jim Clendenen. Like an extra from a Spinal Tap video or a lost member from the Beach Boys,  Jim Clendenen is quintessentially Californian in style, while his wines take on an old world and classic style.  Jim Clendenen has full respect for his peers in Burgundy and says, '… I like to think our wines can share that stage.' He is responsible for some of the most balanced and delicious wines this side of Burgundy.

A trusted and faithful supplier with Berry Bros. & Rudd over the years, we have grown to love and respect the style and panache present in the Au Bon Climat wines.  Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that present a beautiful perfume and balance so ever present in top end Burgundy yet with a New World / Californian brightness to each wines. 

Jim Clendenen has been no stranger to praise from the trade, indeed Au Bon Climat has been on Robert Parker's short list of Best Wineries in the World, and has in the past been selected by Oz Clark as one of fifty world-wide creators of Modern Classic Wines.  His basic wines with their barrel ageing before release are delicious early in their lives, but having tasted back vintages I can attest to the fact that Au Bon Climat wines (especially the single vineyard offerings) have an ability to gain great complexity with age over the next 3 – 5 years.
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12 x 75cl bottle
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About this WINE

Au Bon Climat

Au Bon Climat

Founded in 1982, Au Bon Climat (which means "a well-exposed vineyard") produces internationally-recognized Pinot Noir & Chardonnay from grapes grown in California's Santa Barbara County.

Located at the foot of one of California's most rated vineyards, Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley, one of the finest sites in California, ideal for the production of the refined, Burgundian style of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to which Jim so aspires, ABC, as it is more commonly referred to, has won universal acclaim for its wines thanks to Jim 'Wild Boy' Clendenen, its winemaker & owner.

He regards Burgundy as the benchmark to which he should aspire and buys clones of Pinot Noir from Burgundy in a bid to replicate as closely as possible the restraint and finesse of the wines from that region.

Jim eschewed a career in law for the lure of the vine following a month's stay in Burgundy & Champagne when he was 21. He has never looked back, although he is frequently to be found darkening the doors along the stretch of the Cote d'Or. Unsurprisingly his wines combine the minerally precision & grace of Burgundy with the flair of the West Coast.

Au Bon Climat Chardonnay is fermented and aged for 11 months in French oak barrels from François Frères, with a small proportion of new oak. Most of the fruit is picked at optimum ripeness but a little is picked early for natural acidity while some is picked late to add an extra flavour dimension. The Wild Boy version is deliberately made in a more opulent style. Each of the reserve cuvées and single vineyard wines has its own distinct style consistent across the vintages. Knox Alexander, named for his son, is from a hillside site planted with the best Pinot clones now available.

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Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.

Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.

The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.

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