Au Bon Climat was founded in 1982 and has built a world-class reputation for its traditional Burgundy-style Chardonnays and Pinot Noir wines in Santa Barbara County. In addition to these grape varieties, you may also come across Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Aligoté in some of their wines. The winery employs Old World winemaking techniques in a New World wine region, resulting in balanced, restrained, and terroir-driven wines. Standard practices inclAu Bon Climat was founded in 1982 and has built a world-class reputation for its traditional Burgundy-style Chardonnays and Pinot Noir wines in Santa Barbara County. In addition to these grape varieties, you may also come across Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Aligoté in some of their wines. The winery employs Old World winemaking techniques in a New World wine region, ude barrel fermentation, whole-cluster pressing, lees aging, and significant time in François Frères barrels. The grapes are handpicked at a sugar level that promotes slow ripening.
Founder of Au Bon Climat, Jim Clendenen initially pursued a law degree at the University of California. However, during his "junior year abroad" in France, he discovered the wines of Champagne and Burgundy. He decided to abandon his law studies and fully focus on wine. He worked at Zaca Mesa Winery for three years during harvest and later joined the legendary Burgundy importer Becky Wasserman, where he interviewed Burgundy winemakers about their winemaking techniques.
In 1982, he started Au Bon Climat together with Adam Tolmach. In 1990, Adam Tolmach started his own winery, Ojai Winery, and Jim became the sole owner of ABC. Au Bon Climat produces wines from some of the most highly regarded vineyards in the Central Coast, including Clendenen's own Au Bon Climat Vineyard, plantings at the legendary Bien Nacido Vineyard, and his estate, Rancho La Cuna. Other iconic locations include Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, Los Alamos Vineyard, Rancho Sisquoc, Runway Vineyard, Solomon Hills Vineyards, and Talley Vineyard. The winery practices organic farming in all of its vineyards to showcase the vineyard's terroir in the wines. Au Bon Climat obtained organic certification in 2003.
Au Bon Climat produces a wide range of wines from their own vineyards and close relationships with other growers. The wines are categorized into four categories: "Santa Barbara County Classics," "Single Vineyard" wines, "Historic Vineyards" representing the five icons of the Central Coast, and the "Blue Series," which showcases the finest cuvées with a high proportion of new oak. The Santa Barbara County Classics are the most accessible in terms of price and drinkability.
Jim unexpectedly passed away from cardiac arrest in 2021. Before his death, Jim assembled a dedicated winemaking team led by winemaker Jim Adelman, along with his children Knox and Isabelle, who all share his vision. The winery's commitment to creating masterful Burgundy-style wines in a fulfilling work environment has fostered loyalty and a shared sense of purpose that continues to this day. The iconic winery produces around 50,000 cases annually.
Jim has received many rave reviews throughout his career and has been named 'Winemaker of the Year' several times by Los Angeles Times, Wein Gourmet and Food & Wine Magazine, among others. In addition, Au Bon Climat was included in Robert Parker's 'Best Wineries in the World' list in 1989 and 1990.
The best vintages are: 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019.Read more