2015 Au Bon Climat/K&L Wine Merchants "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir (Previously $30) SKU #1279866

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Tasting Notes

We couldn't be more excited to bring you another installment in what hopefully will turn out to be a long, fruitful project with wineries from around the United States, working with us directly to make exclusive bottlings for our customers. The Domestic team here at K&L has spent a great deal of time kicking around the idea of approaching wineries or winemakers we love, and asking them to work with us to create exclusive wines to our specifications. Furthermore we wanted to not only promote these outstanding wines, but the wineries behind them (rather than putting them in a private label with no winery attribution). We hope that you think that these wines offer a tremendous value and a slightly different expression of wineries that you are already familiar with. (Bryan Brick, K&L Domestic Wine Buyer)

Staff Reviews

  • John Majeski
    By: John Majeski
    K&L Staff Member
    Hey kids, do you remember your ABCs? That's Au Bon Climat of course, one of the Seven Wonders of California Wine.... ok, I know there are a lot more than seven, but it sounded cool. And 'cool' is the bottle cry for Pinot Noir grown in the coastal microclimate of the Bien Nacido Vineyard, a favorite source of fruit for wise winemakers searching for slow maturation and a long growing season. Our efforts to create unique signature wines in collaboration with folks like Au Bon Climat has paid off beautifully in this latest rendition, a wine of magnanimous appeal, with lustrous, refreshing red fruits- wild strawberry, raspberry and cherry, balanced by savory spice, earth notes and fine, lasting acidity. Certainly enjoyable now, but be sure to squirrel a case away, as this captivating Pinot will only improve over the next several years.
  • Ivan Diaz
    By: Ivan Diaz
    K&L Staff Member
    This bottling from ABC is a blend of several blocks from the estate vineyard in Bien Nacido, the balance of which is chosen by your friends here at K&L. A beautifully composed Pinot that shows the ripeness of the Central Coast climate, the crisp acidity and mineral character of the coastal vineyards, and the depth of the winemaker's talent, this shows juicy raspberry and strawberry, sour cherry, baking spice, and cleansing acidity. Pair with cream sauce pasta and morels (just like that made fresh for us on our last visit to the winery) or cedar-planked salmon.
  • Morgan Laurie
    By: Morgan Laurie
    K&L Staff Member
    As a huge fan of Au Bon Climat's wines, I was very excited to see this collaboration in the store and I was not disappointed. It's pretty and powerful at the same time. The ripe red fruit is exactly what you would expect, but the earthy, mushroom quality, herbs and spice give it some depth. It's a fantastic value. If you're a fan of Au Bon Climat, you'll be savoring this wine just like I did. Drink now with a little decanting or stash this away for a rainy day. This should be able to cellar for quite some time and should only get better with age.
  • Anthony Gittings
    By: Anthony Gittings
    K&L Staff Member
    This is a real team effort and a wonderful partnership between Au Bon Climat and K&L. Cherry and strawberry are pronounced on the palate, but the undertones of mushrooms, sage and baking spices really tells the story. The acid is racy and fresh and the finish is elegant and refined, everything that you would expect from Bien Nacido fruit.
  • Jim Boyce
    By: Jim Boyce
    K&L Staff Member
    After tasting the 2015 K&L Bien Nacido Pinot Noir, I was lucky enough to participate in the blending trials for the 2016. We tasted through ten samples of high quality juice from different single blocks around the Bien Nacido vineyard before picking the final blend. Many of these samples would, and do, shine as single vineyard offerings in the $50+ range. It was a treat to see all the work that goes into tweaking the sample percentages until it tastes just right! For this 2015 vintage, Bryan and crew narrowed down to a blend of the three blocks listed below to offer a single vineyard Pinot Noir selection for $30! Vibrant cherry and strawberry fruits, wild herbs, and earth shine. I am still drinking though my 2013's, which still haven't peaked but are still absolutely delicious, and I believe this vintage is even better ad will be enjoyed over the next decade!
  • Bryan Brick
    By: Bryan Brick
    K&L Staff Member
    This year we incorporated the same blocks as previous vintages, Block 11 and Block 2 from Bien Nacido, but in different proportions and with a different clonal selection. Block 2 dominates this year, making up 90% of the blend, and within that are equal percentages of three parcels: one a mixture of clones 113 and 103—this was the nose and structure of the wine—and another is all clone 115, which added texture and power, while the other equal parcel was all clone 113, which made the finish of this wine something special. The other 10% came from Block 11 and is a mix of Swan and clone 115 that was whole-cluster fermented. This is the glue that holds the wine together, with snappy red fruits, warm spice, and a juicy feel that we think is wildly enjoyable. This is a plush, fresh and rich Pinot that has a little bit of something for everyone: Meaty spice—check. Ample, delicious fruit—check. Earthy savor—check. But possibly the best thing about it is the price. For $30 it is just an insane value—there is simply no other Bien Nacido-based Pinot Noir on the market for this price, or anywhere near it, honestly. As this was bottled in July 2016 I'd dump this in a decanter for an hour or two to really let it open up if you were going to drink it over the next 6 months to a year and I think this is going to be great 5-7 years down the road.
  • Gary Norton
    By: Gary Norton
    K&L Staff Member
    Another classic expression of Bien Nacido Pinot Noir. Wild strawberries, salted herbs, blood orange peel and baking spice on the finish. One more knockout from ABC and a terrific addition to K&L's line of co-branded wines.
    Drink from 2016 to 2024
  • Dave Genevro
    By: Dave Genevro
    K&L Staff Member
    Delicious! Ready to drink now, with some nice decanting or air. great lively nose, with some dusty berry characters. Nice and elegant structure, ripeness. A lovely balance of textures, acidity and fruit. One of my favorite collaboration bottles we have in the store right now.
  • David Driscoll
    By: David Driscoll
    K&L Staff Member
    I love doing K&L cuvees with ABC because I love having another Au Bon Climat pinot noir to choose from! The Bien Nacido Vineyard is brimming with fresh strawberries and spice, subtle tannins, and a core of refreshing acidity that balances out any ripeness from the fruit. This is holiday wine, pure and simple. It's practically begging to be paired with roasted turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. I know what I'm drinking on Thanksgiving. This. And probably a bottle of the ABC Bien Nacido chardonnay as well.
  • Alex Schroeder
    By: Alex Schroeder
    K&L Staff Member
    This is one of the finest Pinot Noirs I’ve tasted from ABC. It has the great, rich crunchy fruit one would expect from the Bien Nacido Valley with a frame of secondary flavors like herbs, garrigue and a touch of baking spices. The concentration is awesome while retaining freshness and vibrancy with a great acid backbone. This will certainly be making an appearance at my Thanksgiving table.


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