75cl * 13.5% ABV * Santa Barbara, California
The last vintage from the late, great Jim Clendenen and another in the long line of high quality, hand crafted, Santa Barbara County Chardonnays from Au Bon Climat.
Au Bon Climat has been making balanced, food-friendly Chardonnays since 1982. Even in the early 2000s when ripe, oaky Chardonnays were all the rage, Au Bon Climat stuck to a more subtle and refined style, with minerality and intensity. Santa Barbara County has the climate and terrior to allow Au Bon Climat to consistently make balanced and lively wines. This wine keeps on evolving, from delicious and fresh at release to a richer more complex wine with age.
The Chardonnay grapes for this wine are from four well-farmed vineyards: Bien Nacido, Sierra Madre, Los Alamos and Rancho Vinedo with the average age of the vines being over 25 years old, which is pretty old compared to most vineyards in that area. The grapes are carefully handpicked and sorted in the vineyard. After harvesting, the grapes are whole-cluster pressed, and the juice is quickly settled and chilled to begin barrel fermentation.
The 2021 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay is a beautiful example of the Au Bon Climat style. The flinty, stony aromas stand out, while in the background is an intriguing spice note of clove and nutmeg from sur lie barrel aging in somewhat neutral, Francois Freres barrels for 10 months. Flavours and aromas of citrus and stone fruit, are finished with a beautiful lemon-lime zest note. The wine is intense, but light on its feet and is built to compliment food, not over power food. At this young age, this wine would be perfect with shellfish or poultry. It will improve for at least 10 years and as it evolves, try it with chanterelle mushroom pasta and be amazed.
* Discounts will not be applied as irreplaceable stock *