'Hildegard' is Jim Clendenen's Hommage to Corton. The lady in question was the wife of Charles the Great(Charlemagne)..and he had urges......for white Corton from the Côte de Beaune. About that time Corton was a mélange of different Pinot varieties.... nowadays it is 100% Chardonnay.
Au Bon Climat's version comprises of 73% Pinot Gris, 23% Pinot Blanc, and 4% Aligoté (ah yes...a wine with Aligoté in it)..the Pinot Gris has increased over previous years.
Au Bon Climat 'Hildegard'
Estate Reserve(blue label) 2004
Santa Maria Valley, California, U.S.A.
As plenty of airing had been recommended I opened 2 hours beforehand..and served in a large glass. My expectations were that it would be a difficult wine to appraise at this early stage.
How wrong I was!
Yellow-gold colour...nose..CLASSIC....very French....ah..the memories.....back in the days when you could afford Corton Charlemagne....they smelled like this..BUT..only with ageing..when young they were a devil to taste..very closed and unattractive.This is no way like that..very forthcoming...lemon-curd..a dream to keep going back to...I got quite excited!! Vanilla and minerals dominated the palate..with some lavender & violets..A wine for now and the next 5 years... If you never 'knew' Corton..then maybe this is not a wine that will appeal...HOWEVER.. I knew her well..and this is mightily impressive. Mr Clendenen does it again..can the man do no wrong?
Just an afterthought..and maybe my mind was playing tricks..but I have had some similar wines from Alsace..where Monsieur Gris is very successful...