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Cyber Monday Pinot Noir - Remarkable Price on a Single Vineyard Gem - 11/27/2017 - Pinot Noir (domestic)

When it comes to Pinot Noir values, you won’t do much better than the 2016 Au Bon Climat and K&L Collaboration project. This single vineyard bottling was made by none other than Jim Clendenen, one of the world’s most respected producers of Pinot and Chardonnay. We have this beauty priced under the $20 mark, which is something you simply don’t see when it comes to single vineyard bottlings from a top-named producer. Wines of this caliber typically run in the $35 to $50 range, but that’s the beauty of collaboration projects as we are able to pass substantial savings along to you. 2016 was a terrific vintage in the Central Coast, with the famed "Bien Nacido Vineyard" producing some of its best fruit to-date. The resulting wine is wonderfully expressive, vibrant, and absolutely brimming with delicious black and red berry fruit. When given the opportunity to open up, its aromas shift into high gear, offering up enticing fragrances of violets and wild flowers. While it is a joy to drink now, it will continue evolve for another ten to twelve years. Made in a manner that will appeal to both fans of old world and new world styles, it’s the perfect bottle to share with family and friends. With true Pinot values becoming harder and harder to find, this 2016 is a breath of fresh air.

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2016 Au Bon Climat/K&L Wine Merchants "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir ($19.99)

Jim Clendenen, the man behind Au Bon Climat winery in California's Santa Barbara region since 1982, is internationally known for his critically-acclaimed Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Originally an homage to Burgundy, his decided to start a winery dedicated to small vineyards in leased quarters. Sourcing fruit from several of the most highly regarded vineyards in the Central Coast, we asked Jim a few years ago if he'd be willing to make us a private label single site wine from the legendary Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley, He willingly agreed and we're now on the third and final vintage of the K&L/Au Bon Climat partnership. Bien Nacido is one of California's most historic cool-climate vineyards; an 800 acre site that can trace its roots back to 1837. With 250 of those acres planted to Pinot Noir, the cool weather allows the grapes to retain their acidity, creating red wines both with delicate fruit and a tangy vibrancy. Our 2016 K&L edition exemplifies both of those qualities with aromas of raspberry and black cherry, fleshed out by accents of violets and spice. It's our most Burgundian ABC edition yet, true to Jim's original vision. Fans of both domestic and French Pinot Noir will want to take note of this once again limited single vineyard edition.

Staff ImageSteve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 29, 2017

This is bright, earthy and very floral with an upfront array of crunchy dark fruit and a sappy middle usually found in much more expensive Classified Growth Burgundies. A Pinot at this price rarely has this much finesse or complexity. Absolutely delicious!

Staff ImageJoe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 28, 2017

Really, really impressed by this recent collaboration with Au Bon Climat. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the famed Bien Nacido vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. After some time decanting (preferably at least 30 minutes), this wine shines with the best of what California Pinot Noir has to offer. Aromas of tart bing cherries and red currants are accented by a bouquet of mulling spices, wet leaves, and balsam fir. On the palate, tart cranberries, bright red cherries, pomegranate, and fresh herbs dance on the palate with a wonderfully pleasant elevated acidity and crunchy texture. This is showing exceptional right now, but an additional 2-5 years could put this wine in a really special place. A great food pairing option with cedar plank salmon

Staff ImageBrian Fogarty | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 28, 2017

As bold and expressive as Jim Clendenens haircut (or lack thereof), this single vineyard bottling of the Bien Nacido plots in Santa Maria Valley leapt of the glass to tell an intricate story. Immediate expressions of ripe berry pie which started with clearly defines summer blueberry and warm blackberries soon developed streaks of bright raspberries and a sense of terroir with dusty loam accents. The legendary experience of the winemaker is apparent in the elegant mouth feel of your first sip which builds with good acidity as the blackberries takes center stage. A fresh, mixed berry taste replaces the darker notes that showed on the nose delivering a brighter, round glass that finishes long. White and black pepper hide in the corners but step into the light the longer you ruminate on this wine.

Staff ImageMorgan Laurie | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 28, 2017

This is what I want from my Pinot Noirs! The first note I wrote down while tasting this was "yum" - not exactly a tasting note but I was impressed. This is so aromatic and enticing. It's complex and lovely. It's....just really good. Along with the fruit and warm baking spice, I get what can be described as a "clean earth" note. Like fresh potting soil. It's like if you were planting peonies and pink roses in your garden with fresh, wet earth. It's subtle, but I love me some clean earth and flowers in my wine. I already love Au Bon Climat and the fact that I can get a ridiculous Pinot from a highly celebrated estate for under $20, makes this even better. I might need one for decanting and drinking now, and one to lay down for a bit.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 20, 2017

Au Bon Climat has always been one of my favorite California wineries, so I was excited when we started working on our own private label expressions. While I've enjoyed the previous two Pinot Noirs we bottled under the K&L label, the 2016 edition of the single vineyard "Bien Nacido" is by far the best of the bunch. We just need to give it 20 -30 minutes in the decanter before trying. Bien Nacido is one of our state's coveted sites for cool climate fruit, meaning the Pinot Noirs have more structure and acidity as a result. I can tell you from two empty bottles of experience that the difference a bit of air makes with this wine is night and day. After 20 minutes or so, you get everything you expect from a Burgundian-inspired Pinot Noir: crunchy red fruits, raspberry and hints of earth with lots of spice. I could easily be fooled into thinking this was a bottle of 1er Cru Burgundy (perhaps Pommard or Volnay) if poured blind. The best part is that Au Bon Climat's Bien Nacido release has historically been listed for $40 and over-delivers at that price. At half that price...how can you pass this up?

Staff ImageLilia McIntosh | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 20, 2017

This Pinot Noir could be easily mistaken for Burgundy when blind tasted. First thing that came to my mind when I tasted it was Pommard. Those violet notes, broad texture and linear bright acidity that forms very firm structure enveloped with dark red cherry and touch of red plum are so charming and appealing! Very impressive wine! To be honest it's been awhile since I've tasted Pinot Noir from California that would resemble Burgundy so much. I definitely need some of it for my cellar.