Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 2022, Santa Barbara County, California

“This is our 40th vintage creating Santa Barbara County Chardonnay. Au Bon Climat has been making balanced, long lived, food-friendly Chardonnays since 1982. Even in the early 2000s when ripe, oaky Chardonnays were all the rage, Au Bon Climat stuck to a more subtle and refined style, with minerality and intensity. This wine is always the top in its class and also one of the best values available. Our winemaking protocol has changed little in 40 years; we are still making handcrafted wines in small lots using the same basic, time proven techniques. The result is a fruit forward, well-structured Chardonnay of finesse that is worth twice the price. It’s immediately enjoyable now, delicious and fresh at release, and will develop to a richer more complex wine with age for at least another decade. Flavors and aromas of citrus and stone fruit are finished with a beautiful lemon/lime zest note. The flinty, stony aromas stand out, while in the background is an intriguing spice note of clove and nutmeg from sur lie barrel aging.