Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2005

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I opened this wine for a little holiday get-together I had last night. Au Bon Climat produces some great pinots, supposedly in the Burgundy style. This is their cheapest offering coming in at around $15 in the US. At that price it is a ridiculous bargain and I would be buying it all the time. Up here it’s $20 more and, while definitely very tasty, it’s hard for me to get this knowing that for the same price down in the US I can get a fantastic bottle of Oregon or California pinot. I think that’s the problem with most of the US wines up here – they come in at usually a 100% markup. However, if you want to buy a California pinot in BC this is probably the best quality you will get for the price.

Anyhow, this is a nicely structured pinot with much more intensity than you would expect from a ‘cheaper’ bottle. While it has the classic strawberry nose, this is much subdued compared to many pinots. The wine exhudes what I would call gamey fruitiness and a nice smooth rasberry-like finish. Tannins are very low as usual, but those little that do exist are very well integrated. All in all a very good wine. I had a tough time rating this one, as I do like it enough to buy it again (this was in fact my second bottle), but I’ve had one of Au Bon Climat’s higher end pinots called “La Bauge Au-dessus” (which comes in around $60) and it just blew me away in comparison to this and it would be unfair to give them a similar rating, despite the price differential.

Very Good+
$35 at BCLDB (Marquis has a good selection of their higher end wines)

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