2008 Clendenen Family Vineyards "Le Bon Climat" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1125545 93 points Wine Enthusiast

 The mystery of how to make a Chardonnay, is solved with this wine; fruity, rich and creamy, yet one that finishes so dry and crisp in acidity. Who else holds back a Chardonnay five years except Jim Clendenen? Low in alcohol and balanced despite being aged in 100% new French oak, it’s just now beginning a long journey of excellence. It has a soft, lilting mouthfeel and incredible complexity that will only improve with time.  (12/2013)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Light gold. Intriguing aromas of pear, melon, nectarine, lees and smoky minerals. Silky orchard fruit and orange pith flavors are lifted by tangy acidity and complemented by notes of honeysuckle and anise. Fleshy but lithe chardonnay, finishing with impressive clarity and spicy length.  (12/2013)

92 points Wine Spectator

 A remarkably complex white, offering subtle flavors and a silky texture. Pure, ripe and layered, with vanilla, tangerine, baked apple and nectarine that show touches of hazelnut and spice. Features a long, engaging finish. Drink now through 2019.  (7/2012)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 More ripe and fleshy, yet not quite as well-defined, the 2008 Chardonnay Le Bon Climat has ripe peach, apple and hints of tropical aromas that are framed by plenty of sweet oak, flower blossom and cream on the nose. Rich, medium to full-bodied and layered on the palate, with a broad palate feel and a soft, supple mid-palate, it will need drinking over the coming 2-3 years. Drink now-2017. (JD)  (8/2013)

K&L Notes

One of the great revelations of our 2013 buying trip to the Central Coast was rediscovering the Clendenen Family Vineyards label. Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat) started this label in 2000, from family tended vineyards, so that he and his then wife, Morgan, and his kids Isabelle and Knox, could make wine as a family. I had sold the wines in the past but they had been MIA for some time. We were shocked by these wines and just how good they were, how classically Californian they were and just how accessible they were. Coming from both organic and non-organic vineyards, some of which he planted himself, the wines displayed great acid, perfect oak framing and wonderful feel. Some of that had to do with the fact that a few of these wines have been in the bottle for a number of years and are getting closer and closer to their apex, but I think it mostly has to do with the wealth of experience that Jim has amassed and his excitement to pass that knowledge along, not only to his family, but to anyone willing to listen or put in work alongside him. (Bryan Brick, K&L Domestic wine buyer)

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Price: $39.99
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Staff Image By: Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/28/2013 | Send Email
Rich pear, apple, and citrus abound on a very creamy, textural palate that is balanced nicely by some medium acidity. Finishes quite dry, with nice toasty oak notes.

Staff Image By: Sarah Covey | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/26/2013 | Send Email
Fans of rich, buttery, sweetness rejoice! The Le Bon Climat 2008 is for you! Apple, butter, citrus, with balanced alcohol and medium plus acidity. Still young, but with decanting and some food (lobster, anyone?) a very delicious wine.

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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.