Au Bon Climat "Hildegard" White 2016 (Santa Maria Valley, California) - [WE 94] [JD 92]

Au Bon Climat "Hildegard" White 2016
(Santa Maria Valley, California) - [WE 94] [JD 92]


Regular price $38.00 Sale price $32.99 Save $5.01
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WE94 JD92
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About the Winery:
Au Bon Climat was founded in 1982 by Jim Clendenen, a man with Burgundy at heart. He found that the central coast of California offered the best soil and microclimate to emulate the style he wished to go after. Au Bon Climate uses grapes from many of the leading vineyards, mostly situated near Santa Barbara and the Santa Maria Valley, to make their wines. It comes as no surprise that the wines made by Au Bon Climate are some of the best examples of California Burgundian-style wines.

About This Wine:
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. Now that is Crazy!

The name Hildegard is a salute to the history of Burgundy and to her husband the King of the Franks, Charlemagne. 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.

A wine named after an Empress has to be exquisite. This distinctive blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligoté is barrel fermented and gets extra barrel and bottle time. The barrels for this program are all new Francois Frères 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.

Ratings & Reviews

94 Points - Wine Enthusiast Magazine:
"This annual white blend by Jim Clendenen 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 flavors." - Matt Kettmann (12/31/2018)

92 Points - Jeb Dunnuck:

"A blend of 55% Pinot Gris, 35% Pinot Blanc, and 10% Aligote, the 2016 Hildegard wafts from the glass with a Burgundian bouquet of ripe orchard fruits, buttered toast, pineapple, and spice. It's beautiful on the palate as well and has medium-bodied depth and richness, integrated acidity, some more toasty, nutty character, and a great finish. It's straight-up classy stuff." (10/15/2018)