The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2013

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Page 73 of 149

A Tribute to the Mind Behind SANTA BARBARA WINE COUNTRY'S JIM CLENDENEN by Michelle Ball T PHOTO: JEREMY BALL his month, the annual Chardonnay Symposium will be kicking off its weekend of festivities with a tribute dinner to one of Santa Barbara wine country's greatest founders and ambassadors: Jim Clendenen. "Jim's been my mentor and a huge inspiration to me," Bob Lindquist of Qupé Winery tells us. Lindquist started his wine career as a tour guide at Zaca Mesa Winery in 1979. Clendenen was the assistant winemaker then, and since there weren't many tourists in the early days, Lindquist spent most of his time in the cellar working with Clendenen. According to Lindquist, it was Clendenen's trip to Burgundy, where he worked the '81 harvest, that inspired Clendenen to start his own label. In 1982 Clendenen created Au Bon Climat with his former partner, Adam Tolmach of Ojai Winery. Since then, he has tirelessly promoted the area across the globe. "He brought focus and defined what Santa Barbara County could do," says Rajat Parr, Sommelier and Wine Director for the Michael Mina Restaurant Group. The movie Sideways may have provided promotional glitter, but Clendenen's relentless efforts, balanced wines and willingness to share his knowledge with young and ambitious winemakers have helped put Santa Barbara County on the global map. "I think what makes Jim special is that he has dedicated himself to making great wine, and once he got there, he turned around and was extremely generous with his knowledge," says Gavin Chanin. Chanin studied under Clendenen and Lindquist for years before launching Chanin Wine Company in 2007. The tribute dinner will be held at the historic Bien Nacido Adobe in the Santa Maria Valley and Lindquist, Parr and Chanin will be in attendance to share memories and pay homage to the area's most influential winemaker. See for more information. 72  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2013 TP0713_066-99.indd 72 6/24/13 5:48 PM

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