2018 Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Barbara

  • 94 Point "Oustanding" Vintage ~Wine Advocate
  • "I Love Its Purer, More Fruit-Driven Style" ~94 Jeb Dunnuck
  • "These Wines Are American Treasures" ~Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
  • BHW has the Lowest Price Anywhere!
  • Free Shipping on 6 or More Bottles

About the Wine

Antonio Galloni from Vinous Media loves these wines. This is what he said about the winery: 

“This is a fabulous set of wines from Au Bon Climat. I admit, it’s hard today to taste wines Jim Clendenen made prior to his passing last year. At the same time, these new releases provide a fascinating insight into his stylistic choices across several vineyards and sites. It's fascinating to taste the Au Bon Climat wines given how much Clendenen influenced many of today's leading young winemakers. Pretty much without exception, Clendenen's wines, are richer and more powerful, with greater oak influence and overall lushness. More than anything else, these wines are American treasures, legacies of one of this country's most inspired and inspiring winemakers.”

Au Bon Climat Winery is a beacon of excellence in the world of winemaking. With a commitment to crafting Burgundian-styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the heart of Santa Barbara County, they have earned a world-class reputation over the past four decades. The name "Au Bon Climat" reflects their dedication to creating wines that thrive in the ideal climate and soils of the region, echoing the French idiom for a "good place."

The visionary mind behind Au Bon Climat was Jim Clendenen, who laid the foundation for this exceptional winery in 1982, drawing inspiration from explorations in Burgundy. His unwavering dedication to traditional winemaking principles remains unchanged, resulting in wines that showcase balance, nuance, and authenticity.

Au Bon Climat's winemaking philosophy combines Old World techniques with the unique terroir of Santa Barbara County. Barrel fermentation, whole cluster pressing, lees aging, and extensive time in François Frères barrels are standard practices. Hand-picked grapes, harvested at the perfect sugar level, allow these wines to age gracefully.

Jim Clendenen's vision has been carried forward by a dedicated winery team that shares his manifesto. His daughter Isabelle and son Knox Alexander have carried Jim's legacy. Isabelle brings her unique perspective to the winery. With a background in Japanese studies and extensive experience in wine production, she is deeply involved in the winery's future. Knox has developed a keen interest in all things wine-related. With a focus on wine production, he travels internationally to represent the brand and continues his father's legacy of crafting balanced, complex, and restrained wines.

Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noir is a true testament to the artistry of winemaking and the legacy of Jim Clendenen, also known as one of the best American winemakers ever.

The 52-year-old Pinot Noir from this wine comes from the oldest section of Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, nestled in the cool Sta. Rita Hills appellation. With its elegant balance, rich complexity, and a touch of restraint, this Pinot Noir is a must-have for wine enthusiasts.

Aging: 20 months in one-third of new barrels

Tasting Notes: 100% Pinot Noir. A fruit-driven style, offering lots of framboise and cherries as well as spring flowers and sappy herb-like aromas and flavors. These all carry over to the palate with a beautifully balanced, elegant mouthfeel, and a great finish.


The 2018 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard was mostly destemmed and spent 20 months in one-third new barrels. I love its purer, more fruit-driven style, offering lots of framboise and cherries as well as spring flowers and sappy herb-like aromas and flavors. These all carry over to the palate, where the wine is medium-bodied and has a beautifully balanced, elegant mouthfeel, clean acidity, and a great finish. ~94 Jeb Dunnuck

The 2018 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Larmes de Grappe is a classic Jim Clendenen wine. Dark red cherry fruit, spice, anise, orange peel and dried flowers all race out of the glass. Aromatically intense, silky, elegant and light on its feet, the 2018 is positively stellar. The Larmes de Grappe was done with 100% whole clusters and spent two years in 350-liter barrels, all new. ~94 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

A transparent shade of ruby in the glass, this bottling from the historic vineyard shows pomegranate, raspberry and dark, dried herb on the nose. The palate's core flavors are dried cranberry and more raspberry, but there's an earthy funk of asphalt and damp herbs that adds complexity, and a streak of vanilla on the finish. ~92 Wine Enthusiast

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