2012 Clendenen Family Vineyards "Le Bon Climat" Santa Maria Valley Viognier

SKU #1159562

Jim Clendenen is one of California's most acclaimed winemakers--winning accolades around the world. While best known for the label Au Bon Climat, which celebrated its first harvest back in 1982, Clendenen bought another vineyard in Santa Maria in 2000 and launched this boutique label to be produced from that fruit.

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Price: $17.99

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By: Jim Boyce |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/20/2014  | Send Email
As mentioned, this Viognier is a shining example of what the varietal can be. Right off the bat, this wine hits you with bright citrus, white floral character, and fresh mineral notes. The texture is rich due to full malo and barrel fermentation, but the big acidity present keeps everything in check.
Top Value!

By: Bryan Brick |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/19/2014  | Send Email
If I’m being honest, which I usually am, I have to say that generally speaking I hate Viognier. It just usually is too structureless and over-made for me to find any interest in the varietal. Every now and again, I’m happy to say, I find an exception to the rule. Even though this Viognier is 100% barrel fermented and undergoes full malolactic fermentation, it still has wonderful natural acidity and never strays into the realm of being overly tropical. Instead, it opts for earthy spice on the nose and balance above all else. Flavors of clementine, Meyer lemon and lime blossom fill out the broad yet focused palate and the wine wraps up with a clean, linear finish of apricot-laden stoniness. A true delight for lovers of French-styled Viognier.

By: Angie An |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/12/2014  | Send Email
I have to admit I'm usually not a California Viognier fan, I started my sommelier and blind tasting journey by learning all the classic characteristics of classic varietals and Viognier is always associated with "huge floral, ripe lychee fruit, high alcohol, low acid and slight bitter finish," which is fine if we are talking about air freshener but not exactly something I usually like to sip on. However, I was blown away with the quality of Clendenen's Viognier! It was elegant and reserved, not super floral; there's a slight leesy cheese note in the background, it's very well structured on the palate, full-bodied but not over-the-top. There's also a honey, waxy finish. Absolutely impressive and made me re-think about the characteristics and quality of domestic Viognier all over again!

By: Jason Marwedel |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/7/2014  | Send Email
I wish more domestic Viognier tasted like this! Rich by nature, Viognier really shines when not masked by wood. Light yellow in hue, the Clendenen Viognier jumps from the glass notes of citrus, white flowers and even a touch of toasted coconut. Fresh acidity and mineral tones keep this rich and round white refreshing throughout.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Viognier

- Relatively challenging to cultivate, this white grape's plantings were long limited to two appellations in the Northern Rhône - Condrieu, the better known of the two, and Château-Grillet - but its recent gains in popularity inspired plantings in the Languedoc-Roussillon, across California, as well as in parts of Australia, Italy, Spain and South America. Intensely aromatic and full-bodied, Viognier is prized for its aromas and flavors of stone fruits, d'Anjou pears and white flowers. In fact, its heady perfume wins it the honor of being a rare white varietal used in one of the world's top reds - Côte-Rôtie - where it is often planted amid the Syrah and co-fermented with that grape. The combination deepens the color of Côte-Rôtie and adds to its already deep and distinctive nose.
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.