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Au Bon Climat Isabelle Pinot Noir 2016

Au Bon Climat Isabelle Pinot Noir 2016

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"The 2016 Pinot Noir Isabelle is essentially a barrel selection from Au Bon Climat. Racy, perfumed and beautifully layered, the 2016 caresses the palate with stunning depth. Orange peel, tobacco, blood orange, spice, star anise and new oak add shades of exoticism throughout. A wine of exquisite beauty, the Isabelle is flat-out stunning in 2016. It got only a modest amount of stems (15%) and was aged in 100% new oak. Drinking window: 2020-2031. 96 points

Every wine I tasted from Jim Clendenen was brilliant. Once regarded as the poster child for a more restrained style, Clendenen inspired many of today’s leading young producers. Ironically, most of them now make wines that are quite focused and bright, which makes Clendenen’s wines seem opulent by comparison. How times change. To me though, these remain super-classic Santa Barbara wines. Most of the top selections see 100% new oak, although Clendenen uses slightly larger barrels these days, but they have the pedigree and richness to handle the wood. My only real quibble with Au Bon Climate and Clendenden Family is the insistence on using super-heavy bottles, which create an unnecessarily large carbon footprint. Jim Clendenen is one of the old-timers in Santa Barbara, but he’s still got plenty of game.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (09/19)