About 2017 Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay:
Chardonnay, “32nd Vintage Celebration” Sanford & Benedict Vineyard
Lots of buttered citrus and orchard fruits as well as spice, toasty oak, and salty mineral-like nuances all emerge from the glass. It stays focused and precise on the palate, has good mid-palate depth, and outstanding length. Gorgeous now but will age for years to come.
Fermented and aged in custom made, new 350-liter François Frères French oak barrels
The vineyard has a mantle of hard, siliceous chert-gravel covering deep, well-drained soils. When combined with a cool climate (Region 1), it is the perfect medium for quality Pinot and Chardonnay.
This wine is different from our usual Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay. It was fermented and aged in custom made, new 350-liter François Frères French oak barrels. After two years barrel age, the wine was lightly processed and bottled. Longer time in barrel in larger format, custom barrels made for a richer, more textural Chardonna
About The Winery:
Au Bon Climat winery was totally devoted to making classic, Burgundian-styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County. The convergence of cool, brisk Pacific air, marine-based soils, and east-west running valleys of the area provided an ideal place for growing exceptional grapes. Hence the name “Au Bon Climat,” the French idiom for “good place”.
Forty years later, the wines have earned a world-class reputation internationally. Jim Clendenen, “The Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat, set the objective and stayed true to its course. As the fads in California winemaking have come and gone, Au Bon Climat has maintained a laser focus in producing traditional, site-specific, nuanced, iconic wines.
The first “great“ vineyard in Santa Barbara County was planted by Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict in 1971. Jim Clendenen saw the “magic” of Sanford and Benedict Vineyard over three decades ago. He purchased a few tons of grapes in the mid-1980s, and since then, Au Bon Climat yearly receives fruit from Sanford & Benedict original plantings. Only Sanford Winery has that kind of “history” with this vineyard. Deemed one of the best vineyards in America, to celebrate the greatness of this iconic vineyard we created the “Vintage Celebration” Chardonnay program.
Botanist Michael Benedict and his friend Richard Sanford were committed to finding a cool climate region and location with just enough heat accumulation to ripen, but not over ripen, wine grapes. A location where they could plant and grow grapes and craft wines, where the quality might equal the best of the best in Europe.
Michael began researching and touring the cool coastal regions of California in search of a region and site that would suit this mission. After an incredible amount of research, observation, collection of data and analysis, Michael believed he had found the perfect location – one which possessed just the right combination of weather patterns, overall cool climate and varying soil conditions. His analysis took him to a unique part of the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County and right to the foot of the property that would ultimately become the Sanford & Benedict vineyard. The first vines were planted in 1971, and soon the Pinot Noir from this remote vineyard created a buzz. Others soon followed, wanting to capture the magic of this place. It was the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard which would form the backbone of what is now the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and it was also this vineyard that supplied the cuttings for many of the surrounding vineyards.
The team of Michael Benedict and Richard Sanford would go separate ways after the 1980 vintage and the Sanford Winery continued its existence. Through the years, Sanford Winery remained notable in the region for its pioneering history and for producing wines of high quality from the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard.