The upcoming official visit to the United States by French President Francois Hollande from February 10-12, will have Santa Barbara County represented through wine. Au Bon Climat’s wine will be featured at Tuesday’s State Luncheon, one of the highest caliber events the State Department orchestrates. The Au Bon Climat winery is dedicated to Burgundian varietals, and is providing its 2009 Pinot Noir “La Bauge Au-dessus” and 2010 “Hildegard”, an estate bottled white blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligoté, both from Santa Barbara County’s Santa Maria Valley appellation. The wines will be paired with the cuisine of renowned chef John Besh of Louisiana, named one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America” by Food and Wine Magazine.

National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement that state visits “are reserved for celebrating our most important relationships around the globe,” and, “there are few partnerships older and more important than the one between the United States and France.” Jim Clendenen, owner and winemaker of Au Bon Climat noted, “French wine and culture have played a huge role in the development of my company Au Bon Climat. I am so proud that after a 32 year work-in-progress, my wine is being shared with the President of France by the Obama administration. It is an honor to be chosen. “

On Monday, Feb. 10, Presidents Hollande and Obama are scheduled to visit Monticello, home of Francophile (and wine aficionado) Thomas Jefferson, a symbol of the historic partnership between the United States and France. Prior to his presidency, Jefferson was an American diplomat in France and a major supporter of the French Revolution. The State Luncheon and Dinner are scheduled for Tuesday, followed the next day by a tentative trip to San Francisco and the Bay Area to meet with leaders of the high-tech industry. President Hollande will be travelling solo.


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