Santa Barbara County, California
This “Los Alamos Vineyard” bottling is part of Jim Clendenen’s “Santa Barbara Historic Vineyard Collection”. Au Bon Climat and Los Alamos Vineyard actually have a bit of shared history — the first Au Bon Climat winery in 1982 was a small converted dairy barn on the Los Alamos Vineyard property.
The vineyard is located in the Los Alamos Valley wine region which has been creating distinctive wines for over 40 years, yet has never received an official appellation. That didn’t stop Au Bon Climat from placing the Los Alamos Vineyard in our Historic Vineyards Collection series, an homage to key outstanding vineyards on the Central Coast that have elevated Burgundian varietals. The Chardonnays have a signature character of tropical hints of coconut and pineapple with a marvelously viscous texture
Los Alamos Vineyard is roughly 500 planted acres, most of which is on the flat bottomland of the Los Alamos Valley that is sandwiched between the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley AVA’s, but for this bottling Au Bon Climat sources exclusively from the best site, Block 18, which is located 1,000 feet up, at the top of the wind-swept slopes of the Solomon Hills. On this hilltop the wind and gravelly, more substantial soils produce much lower yields as the grapes struggle to ripen. This results in much greater fruit intensity and concentration.
The Los Alamos Vineyard is roughly 500 planted acres, most of which is on flat bottomland of the Los Alamos Valley that is sandwiched between the warmer Santa Ynez Valley and cooler Santa Maria Valley appellations. The best grapes from this vineyard are found to the north on the gentle slopes of the hills. We source from grapes grown at the top of the wind-swept slopes of the Solomon Hills. On this hilltop the wind and shallower soils keep the yields low and the grapes struggle to ripen. Even though it is a struggle, the small crop ripens early. The fruit is hand harvested, whole cluster pressed, and put to barrel. It was aged 16 months on the lees in 33% new François Frères French oak barrels.