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