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Jim Clendenen’s Au Bon Climat Tasting Room & Wine Library, Downtown Santa Barbara

By G. Stassi.  

Santa Barbara is a stimulating environment that somehow manages to keep a cool, calm demeanor but there’s no denying that it is truly a cultural gem. It’s rich in art of every genre from culinary to viticulture; the visual and performing arts; education both classical and alternative.  For wine lovers, a number of wine bars have opened their doors along the lines of the historic Wine Cask, now referred to as the Margerum Wine Tasting Room.

Jim Clendenen, one of the Central Coast’s most respected and talented winemakers, has opened the Au Bon Climat Tasting Room and Jim Clendenen Wine Library in Downtown Santa Barbara, adjacent to the Wine Cask Restaurant and Margerum Wine Company Tasting Room in the historic El Paseo Plaza. Au Bon Climat Winery has never been open to the public for tasting or tours and has only held two open houses per year in conjunction with the semi-annual Santa Barbara Vintners’ Festivals.

Clendenen produces wines under four labels—Au Bon Climat, Ici/la Bas, Vita Nova, and Clendenen Family Vineyards. His wines range from classic Burgundian-style wines such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to estate-grown Nebbiolo, Terroldego, and Petit Verdot. “Most people aren’t aware of the large number of wines, labels, and projects that I’m involved in,” Clendenen explains. “They are all on display at the new tasting room and wine library.” He offers vertical tastings* of library wines as well as four-vintage collections for purchase. (Vertical tastings* involve the tasting of wines from different and often consecutive years from the same winery tasted together. The purpose is to identify the wine’s characteristics that are consistent regardless of vintage and to experience the differences of the vintages.)

The Au Bon Climat Tasting Room features a tasting bar, cozy fireplace, and intimate seating. Visitors may enjoy tasting wines from both Au Bon Climat and Margerum Wine Company as well as order regional cuisine from the Wine Cask Restaurant. The elegant and welcoming space is also be available for events and private parties.

El Paseo Plaza, 813 Anacapa, Downtown Santa Barbara

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