2001 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay “Sanford & Benedict”

2001 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay “Sanford & Benedict Vineyard”
What an absolutely stellar bottle of Californian Chardonnay!  I was very fortunate to have experienced the boom of the California wines back in the mid to late 1970’s.  (Just to give you a point of reference, we in fact carried the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay on our wine list back then) & subsequently over the years watch the scene unfold.  While I was quite taken by many wines over the span, one of my aha moments was tasting a Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay by Au Bon Climat from back in the mid to late 80’s.  For me, it really was unlike any other wine out there.  Rather than trying to pigeon hole it into a specific category—somewhere between those from Burgundy & others from California–I just thought of it as “otherworldly”—its own niche.  While it is quite easy to get distracted with other new faces over the years, the ABC Sanford & Benedict was my banker—a wine I would, moving forward, measure other California Chardonnays by, yes in terms of quality, but also food affinity, ageability & especially in terms of price.  So, here we were on this night & 2 dear friends—Helen & Brent—popped open this bottle from their cellar to share.  Needless to say, I was quite apprehensive of what this wine would be like, especially considering it was nearly 20 years old.  (And, in the back of my mind was all of the current findings/discussions of pre-mox found in white Burgundies produced around the same time frame).  In short, I was astounded.  This was a wine to behold—packed with mineral, civil minded framing with French oak & offering great texture, balance AND still with lots of uplifting energy & vigor.  All at 20 years old!  AND, it was a perfect wine for our small gathering to raise a glass in homage to our friend Jim Clendenen.  Aloha, my friend.  
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