I can't share my thought on this wine with you without starting with some history, because the wine maker, Jim Clendenen, really deserves it. He started as the assistant wine maker at Zaca Mesa Winery in 1978. In 1982 he went on to found, with ex-partner Adam Tolmach, Au Bon Climat. Jim Clendenen has been a ground breaking wine maker and force in Santa Ynez Valley ever since. He has won several accolades and awards during the years and was named "Wine maker of the Year" in 2001 by Food and Wine Magazine.
So, on to the wine. The Au Bon Climate 2005 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay consists of grapes from two vineyards, 65% Bien Nacido Vineyard and 35% Rancho Vinedo Vineyard. It is barrel fermented and aged in French oak. It has a pale, golden, straw color in the glass. Sticking you nose in the glass, pear, buttery toast, citrus and a hint of tropical fruit and white floral, shows. On to the palate: ripe pear and citrus are the main components, with a nice, mouth full, rich, round creaminess. At the same time though, right there with it, pretty good acidity, to still keep it relatively refreshing and light.
This is a wine I've been drinking through the years as a budget/good value chardonnay. For $13.99 at Wine-Searcher.com I would say that it meets the expectations when it comes to the dollar value, and even surpasses it. Give it a try and let me know what you think. At least in California it is widely available in grocery stores. If it's not where ever you may live it is easy to find online...
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