Au Bon Climat, Hildegard Santa Maria Valley 2016

Regular price £35.95
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  • Type:

    White

  • Country:

    USA

  • Region:

    California

  • Area:

    Santa Barbara

  • ABV:

    13.50%

  • Grape:

    White Blend

  • Grape Blend:

    Pinot Gris 55%,Pinot Blanc 35% and Aligote 10%

  • Winemaker:

    Jim Clenenden

  • Bottle Size:

    750ml

Au Bon Climat Hildegard Santa Maria Valley 2016 - Wine

Tasting Notes

The name Hildegard is a salute to the history of Burgundy. Hildegard was the wife of Charlemagne, Kinfg of the Franks and the first Holy Roman Emperor. During his rule in the early 800s the importance of wine and viticulture exploded. The Catholic Church and Charlemagne ruled most of Europe and both were interested in wine and viticulture.  The Church needed wine for the Eucharist and under Charlemagne more and more vineyards were planted in Burgundy. Charlemagne brought civilization and order back after the dark ages. Part of this rebirth was wine production.

This white blend is always fascinating, and this vintage's 55% Pinot Gris, 35% Pinot Blanc and 10% Aligoté combination offers warm rich aromas of hazelnut and crème brûlée that are cut by crushed chalk and lemon rind. It lands on the palate with a baked pastry warmth but then proves quite textural and taut with lime spray and herb flavours.

We started making Hildegard in 1998. The Pinot Gris planted next to the winery (Block 12 of Bien Nacido Vineyard) was amazing. The yields were small and the grapes were intense. The wine made from this Pinot Gris was more like a Burgundian Pinot Gris or dry Alsatian Pinot Gris than a light, insipid Pinot Grigio style. This rich oily Pinot Gris, blended well with the flinty minerality of Pinot Blanc and the mouth watering acidity from the Aligoté. These three lesser known Burgundian white grapes were aged for two years in new French oak barrels, blended and then released with the name Hildegard.

Production Notes

This distinctive blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligote is barrel fermented and gets extra barrel and bottle time. The barrels for this program are all new Francois Freres French oak. Combining a unique blend with long term barrel aging made something special. The lovely aroma of vanillin and hazelnuts from the oak and the mouth-coating richness makes for a wine that seems like a top-notch Chardonnay. The fruit profile is more melony than Chardonnay and the aromas are more flowery than Chardonnay. Food matches that work with Chardonnay would work fine with Hildegard.

Critics Reviews

Wine Advocate 91pts (2017) - A blend of 50% Pinot Gris, 40% Pinot Blanc and 10% Aligote, the 2017 Hildegard has a fresh nose of quince, white blossoms, hay bale and soft nutty scents plus sliced green pear and baker's yeast. Medium-bodied, it has a good core of fruits and is broad and textured, finishing long. 675 cases produced.

Producer Profile

Founded in 1982, Au Bon Climat produces internationally-recognized Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from grapes grown in California's Santa Barbara County. Located at the foot of one of California's most highly rated vineyards, Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley, one of the finest sites in California, ideal for the production of the refined, Burgundian style of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to which Jim so aspires. ABC, as it is more commonly referred to, has won universal acclaim for its wines thanks to owner & winemaker Jim 'Wild Boy' Clendenen. Jim regards Burgundy as the benchmark to which he should aspire; he purchases clones of Pinot Noir from Burgundy in a bid to replicate as closely as possible the restraint and finesse of the wines from the region. Jim eschewed a career in law for the lure of the vine following a month's stay in Burgundy and Champagne when he was 21. He has never looked back, although he is frequently to be found darkening the doors along the stretch of the Cote d'Or. His wines combine the mineral precision and grace of Burgundy with the flair of the West Coast.