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Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

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"A wine of total allure, the 2015 Chardonnay 30th Vintage Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is remarkably vivid and nuanced. Orange peel, wild flowers, spices, new French oak and tropical overtones all emerge from this voluptuous, ample Chardonnay. Bright saline notes add striking freshness to a Chardonnay that dazzles from the very first taste. The 2015 was aged in 100% new 350-liter Francois Freres barrels. Readers who want to understand why Sanford & Benedict is one of California's grand crus should make a point of checking out this magnificent Chardonnay from Au Bon Climat and Jim Clendenen. Drinking window: 2017-2023. 96 points

I was very impressed by the wines I tasted with Jim Clendenen at Au Bon Climat and Clendenen Family Vineyards. Clendenen is of course one of the central figures in the Santa Barbara wine scene. Over the years, he has influenced or directly mentored many of today's young superstar winemakers. It is therefore quite ironic that, tasted within context of today's Santa Barbara, Clendenen's wines are richer and more powerful than those made by most, if not all, of the young winemakers he has influenced. Moreover, these wines are not at all shy in their use of new French oak. But those are really just details. In this tasting, these new releases are positively brilliant. I can't recommend them highly enough.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (09/18)