AU BON CLIMAT 2020 “Nuits-Blanches au Bouge” Chardonnay
Santa Maria Valley, California
*The word or expression on the label changes each vintage. In 2020, “Hindsight” is the whimsical name chosen by Isabelle Clendenen, Jim’s daughter.
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the two estate vineyards – 90% from Bien Nacido Vineyard “K Block” and 10% from the estate Le Bon Climat Vineyard. Both vineyards are located in the Santa Maria Valley at an elevation of about 500 feet. The “K Block” at Bien Nacido is one of the original blocks planted in the early 1970s to UC Davis 4, this clone in the cool Santa Maria Valley yields grapes low in pH at a ripe sugar level. A low pH Chardonnay will age better, integrate oak better, and pair with food better. The newer plantings at Le Bon Climat feature Dijon 76 and 96, which have riper characteristics at lower sugar than the Davis clones. The small amount of Le Bon Climat Chardonnay blended into this wine adds a nice layer of complexity.
The fruit hand picked and carefully sorted in the vineyard, then 100% whole-cluster pressed, chilled and settled overnight. The juice is barrel fermented in 100% new Francois Freres French oak barrels. The wine undergoes complete malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged surlies for 18 months and then is bottled unfiltered.
95 points – Antonio Galloni’s Vinous Media
95 points – Jeb Dunnuck