Founded in 1982, Au Bon Climat (which means "a well-exposed vineyard") produces internationally-recognized Pinot Noir & Chardonnay from grapes grown in California's Santa Barbara County. Located at the foot of one of California's most rated vineyards, Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley, one of the finest sites in California, ideal for the production of the refined, Burgundian style of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to which Jim so aspires, ABC, as it is more commonly referred to, has won universal acclaim for its wines thanks to the late Jim 'Wild Boy' Clendenen, its winemaker & owner. Jim regarded Burgundy as the benchmark to which he should aspire and bought clones of Pinot Noir from Burgundy in a bid to replicate as closely as possible the restraint and finesse of the wines from that region. Jim eschewed a career in law for the lure of the vine following a month's stay in Burgundy & Champagne when he was 21. He never looked back, although he was frequently to be found darkening the doors along the stretch of the Cote d'Or. Unsurprisingly his wines combine the minerally precision & grace of Burgundy with the flair of the West Coast.
Bien Nacido Vineyard is the benchmark and crown jewel of the Santa Maria Valley AVA. One of the oldest, cool-climate vineyards in California, Bien Nacido Vineyard (Spanish for "Well Born") has been an acclaimed source of world-glass grapes since its founding in 1973 by brothers Stephen and Bob Miller. It is now acknowledged as among the elite vineyards of the world. Au Bon Climat has a special relationship with the vineyard. In addition to having a winery located on the property, they have custom blocks of fruit with long-term acreage contracts for quality hillside vines dating back to the early 1990s. Today, much of what Au Bon Climat sources is fruit that has been planted “exclusively” ABC.
More than anything else, these wines are American treasures, legacies of one of this country's most inspired and inspiring winemakers. Antonio Galloni, Vinous