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

SKU #1324795

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.

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Price: $19.99

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Staff Image By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/28/2017 | Send Email
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 Image By: Joe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/28/2017 | Send Email
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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 Image By: Brian Fogarty | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/28/2017 | Send Email
As bold and expressive as Jim Clendenen’s 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 Image By: Morgan Laurie | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/28/2017 | Send Email
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 Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/20/2017 | Send Email
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 Image By: Lilia McIntosh | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/20/2017 | Send Email
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.

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 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.