Au Bon Climat, Isabelle Pinot Noir, 2012

Au Bon Climat, Isabelle Pinot Noir, 2012

  • icon-type Type


  • icon-year Year


  • icon-style Style


  • icon-country Country


  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level


  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Pinot Noir 100%
  • Rating

    RP 93

Isabelle is comprised of the best cuvees each year from all the wines Au Bon Climat produces and that represents at least 6 different vineyards. The 2012 is a darker, luscious, fruitier Isabelle. It has an intensely perfumed, black raspberry nose with sexy floral and mineral qualities that gain power with air. This one needed no bottle time to show well. Isabelle has proven to age very well, and we routinely drink bottles with 15 years of age. Even though Isabelle is Au Bon Climat's "biggest" Pinot Noir with loads of intensity and power, it is still balanced and food friendly.

1,600 cases produced.

About Au Bon Climat

Au Bon Climat sources fruit from several of the most highly regarded vineyards in the Central Coast. These include Clendenen’s own Le Bon Climat Vineyard and estate plantings at the legendary Bien Nacido Vineyard – both in Santa Maria Valley, along with Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, Los Alamos Vineyard (Santa Barbara County), and San Luis Obispo County's Talley Vineyard.

The winery has cultivated an international reputation for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Jim Clendenen, the “Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat, is recognized worldwide for his classically styled wines. In addition to his Burgundian-focused Au Bon Climat wines, Jim also established another brand, Clendenen Family Vineyards. This project of passion allows him to make artisan, small lots of distinctive wines from a wider spectrum of varieties in styles conducive to small lots. He has received high acclaim for Italian varietals particularly his Nebbiolo that has a five year aging regimen in barrel.

In 1989 and 1990 Au Bon Climat was on Robert Parker's short list of Best Wineries in the World, and in 1991 was selected by Oz Clark as one of fifty world-wide creators of Modern Classic Wines. Dan Berger of the Los Angeles Times named Clendenen the "Los Angeles Time Winemaker of the Year" in 1992; Food & Wine magazine named him "Winemaker of the Year" in 2001. Germany's leading wine magazine, Wein Gourmet, in 2004 name Clendenen “Winemaker of the World;” and in 2007, Jim was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.” Accolades abound but Jim does not rest on his laurels. He is continually looking to fine tune his craft and consequently leads the pack. Articulate, knowledgeable, well travelled, passionate, and uncensored with a biting humour, Jim Clendenen is an icon that wine cognoscenti gravitate to.

Grape variety
Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot Noir grapes. The name is derived from the French words for pine and black. The word pine alludes to the grape variety having tightly clustered, pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

Pinot Noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler climates, and the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. Pinot Noir is now used to make red wines around the world, as well as Champagne, and such sparkling white wines as the Italian Franciacorta, and English sparkling wines. Regions that have gained a reputation for red pinot Noir wines include: the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the Carneros, Central Coast, Sonoma Coast and Russian River AVAs of California, the Elgin and Walker Bay wine regions of South Africa, Mornington Peninsula, Adelaide Hills, Great Southern, Tasmania and Yarra Valley in Australia and the Central Otago, Martinborough and Marlborough wine regions of New Zealand. Pinot Noir is the most-planted varietal (38%) used in sparkling wine production in Champagne and other wine regions.

Pinot Noir is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine. The grape's tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards involving rot that require diligent canopy management. The thin skins and low levels of phenolic compounds lends pinot to producing mostly lightly coloured, medium-bodied and low-tannin wines that can often go through phases of uneven and unpredictable aging. When young, wines made from Pinot Noir tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As the wine ages, pinot has the potential to develop more vegetal and "barnyard" aromas that can contribute to the complexity of the wine.

Alternative Names: Pinot Nero, Pinot Negro, Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder

About Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County occupies a roughly rectangular area at the southern end of California's Central Coast region. The county is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to its south and west, with the region's topography consisting primarily of coastal hills and river valleys. This gives rise to a broad spectrum of terroirs reflected in Santa Barbara County's diversity of grape varieties. In the cooler Santa Maria Valley, the leaning is clearly towards cooler-climate varieties – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – while in the warmer Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, just to the south, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Grenache thrive.

From the Santa Ynez Mountains in the south and west to the San Rafael mountain range in the east, the landscape is truly varied. The many rivers which flow down from the mountains towards the Pacific Ocean have carved out valleys and coastal plains over the millennia. The coastal valleys are oriented east-west, channelling cool ocean breezes and sea fog eastwards through the valleys. These climatic factors keep the vineyards in the county's western reaches cool with a moderate climate, while the vineyards to the east experience larger diurnal temperature variations as these cooling effects gradually dissipate.

Overall Santa Barbara County has a coastal climate with a long growing season, allowing the grapes extended hang time to develop mature flavours and a much-valued balance of sugars and acids. This is something of a luxury at such low latitudes (34.5 degrees north) and allows the county's winemakers to make relatively balanced wines, unaffected by the high alcohol content associated with warmer climates. The cool climate also results in higher acidity, balancing the mature flavours of the grapes and increasing their aging potential. Low rainfall, too, reduces the risk of the fruit spoiling, allowing it to ripen fully.

Santa Barbara County's soils are just as diverse as its climate – from sandy, silt and clay loams, to diatomaceous earth, to patches of limestone and chert. This unique blend of climate and soils creates ideal growing conditions for a range of grape varieties, with Santa Barbara County producing some of the most sought-after (and most expensive) wine grapes in California.

Six of the county's wine sub-regions currently hold official AVA status: Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Ballard Canyon and Los Olivos District.

Regular price $940.00

Unit price per 

Bottle Size

Case Size

Close (esc)

Follow us

Thank you for

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are legally old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now