Wine Review: Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Santa Barbara 2013

au bon climatThe term Burgundian is over-used and often inaccurate when referring to Pinot Noir from the new world. But in this case I think it applies. This reminds me of the best examples of the soft, lighter bodied wines from Volnay but with more pop.

Pretty strawberry and rose aromas, set off by smoke, clove and sassafras yield a complex alluring nose with wonderful clarity and focus. Despite the light body, the wine coats the palate in a silky embrace of bright cherry supported by soft, gentle tannins and vibrant acidity. The momentum is decidedly toward the crisp, floral top notes but it flows gently and is persistently anchored by the lovely, calm, transparent, midlevel layer of warm fruit. The finish is short but seamless.

Exuding a pretty, graceful charm, quietly joyful, playful but with a sophisticated élan. It’s neither stunning nor dazzling; it’s just utterly enchanting. Pair with the equally enchanting Some Kind of Love by Dido.

This wine’s allure is of course no surprise. Acclaimed winemaker and owner Jim Clendenen has been making Burgundy-inspired Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Santa Barbara area since 1982. Since the beginning, he has ignored the trend toward higher alcohol and more oak. The world or California Pinot Noir seems to be finally catching up to his vision.

Score: 92

Price: $23

Alc: 13.5%

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