2010 Au Bon Climat "Historic Vineyards Collection Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1145485 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice one of the Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines of 2013* This Pinot Noir is insanely delicious. The wine is dry, tart and moderate in alcohol, giving it the smooth silkiness you want in a fine Pinot. The flavors are something else, striking the perfect balance between ripe raspberries, earthy cola, red licorice and mushrooms, with all kinds of spicy complexities. The acid-tannin balance is impeccable. It’s drinking beautifully now and should hold and change in the bottle over the next eight years.  (12/2013)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Vivid ruby. Aromas of black raspberry, redcurrant, licorice, star anise and toasty oak, with a floral topnote that gains power with air. A deeply flavored but lithe midweight, offering intense raspberry and floral pastille flavors lifted by bright, harmonious acidity. Elegant and precise, with a restrained sweetness to its long, gently tannic finish.  (11/2013)

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Price: $39.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/5/2013 | Send Email
By now it is certainly no secret how much we like the wines from Au Bon Climat. We’ve been inundating you with classy, structured, energetic wines from them for some time now including a wine that we made earlier this year with them. This wine, one in a series of wines that Jim Clendenen makes to highlight the older, “historic” vineyards in Santa Barbara County is from the same vineyard the ABC/K&L wine is from but couldn’t be more different. The fruit for this wine is all Clone 115 from Block 2 with 60% of the fruit going through Whole Cluster fermentation and is aged in 80% new Francois Freres barrels for 20 months. Ruddy and meaty on the nose this Pinot is very dark and almost brooding with aromas of beef jerky, beets, cola, raspberry and violet, yet has an overall prettiness that can’t be missed. Weighty and broad on entry this rich, full weight Pinot shows off the darker, more bombastic side of the Bien Nacido Vineyard. A continuation of the savory-ness on the nose is also found on the palate with exotic flavors of plum, sandalwood, amaro, licorice and bitter orange peel. My suggestion is to either stash this one away for a while in your cellar or aggressively decant it to really see the wines full complexity and personality.

Additional Information:


Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

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.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5