2012 Au Bon Climat/K&L Wine Merchants "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1139780

We here at K&L couldn't be more excited to bring you the second installment in what hopefully will turn out to be a long, fruitful project with wineries from around the United States, working with us directly to make exclusive bottlings for our customers. The Domestic team here at K&L has spent a great deal of time kicking around the idea of approaching wineries or winemakers we love, and asking them to work with us to create exclusive wines to our specifications. Furthermore we wanted to not only promote these outstanding wines, but the wineries behind them (rather than putting them in a private label with no winery attribution). We hope that you think that these wines offer a tremendous value and a slightly different expression of wineries that you are already familiar with. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

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Price: $24.99

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By: Bryan Brick |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 12/5/2013  | Send Email
Back in February when we approached Bob Lindquist at Qupé about making a wine for us we also spoke to Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, after all they share the same facility on the famed Bien Nacido Vineyard. We thought that there would be few winemakers in the world of Pinot Noir that we’d like to work with more and few that have made as consistently good Pinot as Jim has over the last 30+ years. To our surprise Jim was interested and told us to keep in touch. Come May I was sitting down at a table having lunch with Jim and his General Manager Jim Adelman putting together this fantastic blend. We tasted 14 components that afternoon from both Le Bon Climat and Bien Nacido Vineyards. What we ended up with in our bottling was 100% Bien Nacido Vineyard fruit from 2 blocks: Block 11 and Block 2. More specifically the wine is a blend of 50% Swan Clone from Block 11 planted in 1997, 20% Mount Eden Clone from Block 2 planted in 1996, 20% a mixture of all Clones on Block 11 planted between 1997-1998 and 10% 115 Clone from Block 11 planted in 1998 40% of which was whole cluster fermented. The bright red cherry, cassis, pastille, fresh lavender and subtle mint aromatics came together wonderfully that day with a juicy core of green spiced, blue fruits on the palate from the whole cluster portion of the wine. The earthen spice and black tea notes from the mid palate on were brought by the Mount Eden clone which also added lovely weight and a bit of scope. I think that all three of us left the table that day happy with what we agreed on and now that it is in bottle I couldn’t be more excited about it. Bottled in early August this can use a vigorous decanting until around New Years and after that I believe it will open up and become something that will continue to get better over the next 6-7 years at least. Thanks Jim and Jim for making this dream become a reality.

By: Jim Barr |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 10/2/2013  | Send Email
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Great vintage... classic Central Coast, single (GREAT) vineyard fruit source, and a wonderful Pinot. Incredible balance, lush perfumed aromas of strawberries and rose petals, with wet river stone mineral tones. Excellent complexity, deeply flavored, integrated and focused, and a long, warm finish. This Gem is a barrel-selection by our very own Bryan Brick from the Bien Nacido Vineyards at Au Bon Climat and should rival Pinots that are three times the price. Buy it!!! Or else!!! My dog Rusty has demanded that I bring home at least three cases of this great Gem (like we need more wine in the house)... Well, okay.
Drink from 2013 to 2020

By: Mellyn Craig |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 10/1/2013  | Send Email
If you love drinking Pinot Noirs, but have a hard time finding a delicious one that won’t break the bank, look no further! This wine is loaded with very bright, high toned red fruits, such as cherry and cranberry. There is also a lovely floral quality, with a touch of herbal qualities and spice. All of this combined with a nice medium acidity, and you’ve got an outstanding Pinot Noir! Tastes great now after decanting, but will definitely improve with some age. This is a great choice for your holiday parties. Buy it now before it’s gone!
Top Value!

By: Sarah Covey |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 9/30/2013  | Send Email
Thanks to our friends at Au Bon Climat, we have the great pleasure of offering you this special pinot noir, composed of the best fruit from the famous Bien Nacido vineyard. This K&L exclusive demonstrates the skill of winemaker Jim Clendenin- we asked for a very special cuvee just for our customers, and he has delivered! Red cherry, red roses, cranberry, red currant with notes of mineral and earth, spice and sandalwood. Bright, fresh medium plus acidity that will continue to knit together and gain even more complexity as time passes. Medium tannins make this drinkable and easy, but with significant complexity for the most discerning palate- the perfect Pinot Noir as we move into fall and the holiday season! (Don't forget, Thanksgiving is right around the corner!) Stock up!
Top Value!

By: Keith Wollenberg |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 9/26/2013  | Send Email
Jim Clendenen is a guy with a storied past. He loves Burgundy, and has worked there and maintains his passion for its wines. He has a clear vision of what he likes, and makes wines of focus, with a sense of place and respect for their terroir, to use the French term. I was excited when I heard that Jim was working with Bryan on this project, and even more delighted to taste the finished product. This is is wine of complexity, length and charm, with attractive cassis and interesting herbal flavors, along with red and black currant notes. When you taste this wine, you will be astonished that Pinot of this quality can come at this price. Frankly I like it much better than most of the California Pinots I have tasted at twice the price! I'll be taking some across the pond to give to my friends in Burgundy as gifts. Don't miss out, because when this is gone, it will not be coming back.
Top Value!

Additional Information:

Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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 Sants Inez 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