Jim Clendenen is such a treat for Santa Barbara County. If you ever have a long drive ahead on the open road give a listen to Jim’s interview on the podcast called “I’ll Drink To That” hosted by Levi Dalton. Jim is a wine instigator, a person that gets us excited to open bottles and explore regions. He explored European wine regions extensively during his twenties, after growing up in the self-stated trauma of being, “Born in Akron, Ohio to gastronomically impoverished parents during the culinary Dark Ages of the American 1950s.” After graduating Pre-Law with honors from UC Santa Barbara Jim’s travels throughout France paved the way to a first wine harvest in 1978 at Zaca Mesa Winery. It took only four years for him to start his own winery in 1982 called Au Bon Climat. Jim started the Clendenen label in 2000 with the philosophy that, “These are artisan, small lots of distinctive wines where commerce is not the driving force.”
I just get so amazed at the deliciousness of this wine, especially when it hits 45 minutes after opening. If you have a carafe break it out for this bottle to help initiate that oxygen to wine exchange. Jim planted two clones of Nebbiolo in 1994 on a lease of land from the Miller family, owners of the Bien Nacido Vineyard. The vineyard is 1.75 acres and this bottling is considered their reserve Nebbiolo, aged in neutral barrels for five years to develop phenomenal nuances and firm acid. Best expressed alongside rustic Italian cuisine, aim for sausages and beans, pappardelle pasta with mushrooms, or lamb with rosemary.