Dark ruby red with scarlet glints against the light. Red berries, a hint of plum and a whiff of fennel carry over intact on the palate in a full-bodied, red-berry flavor that’s ripe but bone-dry and tart, mouth-watering and palate-cleansing. Alcohol at 13.5% is sufficient to fill it out but not so high-octane as to bring the heat. Soft, palatable tannins in a nicely balanced Pinot Noir that’s distinctly California yet reaches across the Atlantic to bring in a touch of Burgundy. Excellent wine. (July 13, 2017)
FOOD MATCH: This classic Pinot goes seamlessly with just about any red meat, mushrooms, sharp cheese, wild salmon and more.
WHEN TO DRINK: It’s delicious and certainly won’t go around the bend in a year or two, but I don’t see it as a wine made for cellaring. Enjoy it in the next few years but save Au Bon Climat’s more upscale bottlings for laying down.
VALUE: Wine-Searcher.com reports a $23 average U.S. retail, which is in line with its $24 winery price and not far under my $26 local price. This excellent Pinot is certainly worth its toll in this mid-$20s range.
WEB LINK Read about Au Bon Climat, its vineyards, its wines and its people, at this link.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Check prices and find vendors for Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir on Wine-Searcher.com.
You can also buy the 2016 vintage direct from the winery for $24 at this link.