Clendenen Family Vineyards "Pip" Nebbiolo 2012

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Tasting Notes

Beautiful translucent color.  On first whiff, this smells like a high end Burgundy, but a second nose makes it clear that this is a nicely aged Nebbiolo.  It offers aromas of red fruits, especially cherry, over savory components—stem, dried earth, and a hint of leather.  The palate continues the Burgundy comparison, especially with respect to soft, integrated tannins and full but delicate flavor.  Black cherries dominate the fruit, light in weight but generous.  The palate is ripe without even a hint of California over-ripeness.  This wine is graceful, elegant, and delicious.  

The Santa Maria Valley is known for the production of cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  The Santa Maria River runs true east-west, bringing cooling Pacific fog into the region.  It is a rich growing region, but much of its production goes to cellars outside the county.  The major wineries are Qupé, Byron, Au Bon Climat (Clendenen’s own), Cambria, and Foxen.  
Jim Clendenen was born in Akron, Ohio during the culinarily-challenged 1950s.  He went to college in Santa Barbara as a pre-law major, but did a junior year abroad in France.  After graduation, he returned to Burgundy and Champagne; a one-month stay convinced him to switch from law to wine.  He managed to work three harvests in 1981—Australia, France, and California.  This convinced him he could run his own winery, and he launched Au Bon Climat in 1982.  Clendenen ‘s nickname is “the mind behind” for his extensive contributions in developing the region. His properties include the famed Bien Nacido Vineyard, a cool, breezy hillside site with shallow gravelly soil producing intensely flavored fruit; he also farms Le Bon Climat Vineyard and Rancho la Cuna organically.  The Clendenen Family Vineyards label was created in 2000 to explore experimental wines made from varieties unusual in California: Gewürztraminer, Tocai, Aligoté, Mondeuse, Petit Verdot and Nebbiolo, among others.
Grapes for this wine come from a 16-acre site in Bien Nacido planted in 1994 as part of an Italian varietal project.  The Pip cuvée (named in homage to Jim’s deceased Border Collie Pip, the winery mascot) is an early barrel selection from the Bricco Buon Natale Nebbiolo program.  The wine ages four years in 500L Hungarian oak puncheons, while the Bricco Buon Natale sees 6-7 years in barrel.
Food Pairing Suggestions

Charcuterie, Cheese, Chicken/Turkey, Ham, Mushrooms, Pizza, Pork, Red Meat, Roasted Root Vegetables, Vegetables

Usa, California
Grape Varietal:
100% Nebbiolo
$27.00 each
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