One word describes the nose of the 2017 Isabelle Pinot Noir: breathtaking. The sheer weight of the perfume on this wine, the lifted, scented nature of the bouquet just shouts (albeit oh-so-elegantly) PINOT NOIR. It is completely exhilarating with such pure, focused red fruit. Red cherries, redcurrants, and raspberries are allied with an incredible, exotic, musky perfume which is almost like incense, overwhelming the senses. The palate feels light on its feet initially, dancing with bright red fruit: tart redcurrants with a smidge of ripe, sweet raspberries behind. It is scintillating and balletic, full of energy and life, with real Vosne-Romanée poise despite the warmer Californian feel. The tannins are pin-prick and show their presence with a light grip on the palate suggesting that this still needs more time. This is Pinot Noir with that rainwater edge of purity running through its core, yet which moves into a touch of bitter dark, raspberry chocolate on the finish. Au Bon Climat says that the aim of Isabelle (named after Jim’s Clendenen’s daughter), as a blend of the best barrels from the best vineyards, is to ‘achieve a supple, rich, harmonious, and complex wine [sic..] intended to reflect California’s geographic diversity, the exoticity of different clonal possibilities and the preferred style of one of California’s most experienced Pinot Noir makers’. They have certainly achieved that in this 2017 which is a seductive, brilliant expression of Pinot Noir. Drink 2024-2035.