Au Bon Climat, Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley. 2018
Our winemaking has changed little in 35 years; we are still making handcrafted wines using the same basic, time proven techniques. No short cuts here. We use only François Frères french oak barrels – not cheap, but essential to meet our criteria – aging about 20 months in barrel. The cocoa and char from the barrels mixes nicely with the spicy cranberry/strawberry notes so typical of Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir. Though enjoyable now, the wine will continue to develop and be enhanced by age.
Santa Maria Valley AVA - This broad valley runs from the San Rafael Mountains in the east, to the Pacific in the west. The cool marine air blows in off the 14 ̊ C Pacific keeping the valley chilly. The soils change in the valley as you move up in elevation from the Santa Maria River. The bottom land is sandy and well drained, which is good for crops such as broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries, but too rich to produce good grapes; the vines have too much vigor and need to be heavily managed to limit the crop size. The slopes of the Valley with more gravel in the soil and southern exposure make these hillsides the perfect spot for Pinot Noir. That is where we source our fruit from. Our Santa Maria Valley Pinot is a blend of three vineyards: Le Bon Climat, Runway, and Bien Nacido.