2017 Diatom, Chardonnay, Machado Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills.
Ultra transparent and intensely bright in flavors the 2017 Diatom Machado reveals floral aromatics, wet rock and loads of lemon/lime before gaining textural depth and a mix of apple, peach and pear fruits along with a steely note. This inox style Chardonnay by Greg Brewer is richer than you’d expect from a zero oak non malo example and while in has dynamic energy and zesty focus it delivers a wonderful all round performance, though certainly not a wine to serve the Rombauer lovers. With air you find a tangy quince element and just a touch of tropical essences along with balancing tart phenolic bite all in a dry and crisp wine. In a recent blind tasting of Chardonnays, this Diatom Machado did remarkably well even against some tidy White Burgs, including some notable Chablis and it really comes alive with cuisine too. These Diatom wines age well as I also discovered a few weeks ago when a winemaker friend who is also a fan of Brewer’s wines opened a lovely 2008 that was surprisingly fresh in form and impressive in detail, these are thought provoking wines, not for everyone, but serious stuff.
This Diatom is a single vineyard Chard from a 15 acre parcel on the Machado family land that is located adjacent to famous Sta. Rita Hills Clos Pepe Vineyard and immediately behind the Kessler-Haak vineyard. This site is marked by a gorgeous rolling terrain with sandy clay loam soils that allow a warm ripe feel to the fruit and exceptional concentration, while still having the marine influence and cooling effect that gives brilliant natural acidity. There are a few blocks used here that are planted to the unique Sweeney Canyon clone Chardonnay, which gives a touch of an almost Riesling like taste and lime note. Brewer’s zen like precision on his Diatom starts with great vineyard management and a fermentation that takes place at very low temperatures in small stainless steel tanks, with his special cultured yeast selections coupled with inhibited malo-lactic, meaning no flabbiness, and short hose transit ensure vitality and focus. I can’t wait to try the new 2018’s from Diatom, which could be absolutely legendary considering the greatest of the harvest on the Central Coast, but that said I really enjoyed this 2017 Machado, so don’t pass it up, especially with Toro (fish dishes) and or Sushi!
($42 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive