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Au Bon Climat: living on after Jim Clendenen

A year on from Au Bon Climat winemaker and co-founder Jim Clendenen's death, Decanter's Stephen Brook reflects on his impact on elegant California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Meeting with the Santa Maria Valley winery's long-time general manager in London recently, he tastes through 10 new and mature wines that highlight the continuity of style.

Those of us (and we are legion) who knew and admired the late Jim Clendenen find it difficult to take a dispassionate view of Au Bon Climat, the label he created almost 40 years ago.

With his unshorn locks, absent dress sense, high humour and instinctive hospitality to all who trekked to Santa Maria Valley to visit him and his winery, Clendenen was a throwback to earlier, more bohemian times.


Scroll down for tasting notes and scores of 10 Au Bon Climat wines – new releases and mature vintages



Au Bon Climat: new releases and mature vintages


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