2016 Spear Vineyards, Chardonnay, Gnesa Vineyard, Estate, Sta. Rita Hills.
An absolutely gorgeous Chardonnay from Ofer Shepher’s Spear, who has the famed Greg Brewer as a consultant, with the main winemaker duties done by the talented new comer Kathleen Gaffney, and if this wine seems beautifully familiar it’s because Brewer made a few wines from this vineyard for the renowned Brewer-Clifton lineup in years past, the vines are certified organic and really give wonderful detail and depth. I’ve had Gnesa Vineyard in Brewer’s past efforts at Brewer-Clifton, as mentioned, and have always been impressed by this site’s Chardonnay, and this Spear Estate version is a beauty with lovely texture, tension and length, originally planted back in 1997 by the Gnesa family, this self-rooted parcel is entirely clone 5 Chardonnay planted on a north facing slope of pure Sta. Rita Hills sand. The smooth and open Spear Gnesa Chardonnay unfolds with layers of white flowers, honeysuckle, wet stone and hazelnut along with a core of orchard fruits with apple, peach and bosc pear leading the way as well as being lifted by a citrus note that gives this pretty Chardonnay some zing on the medium full palate. With a few swirls this alluring Chard adds tropical elements with kiwi, pineapple and passion fruit, plus a touch of baking spice and perky meyer lemon. The 13.5% natural alcohol shows the wines balance in a ripe year, and while there’s a sense of density and opulence, there is a feeling of energy and focus throughout, this is really entertaining stuff, I highly recommend discovering this winery, I really enjoyed the Syrah and Pinot as well, plus they just added a Gruner Veltliner, that I look forward to trying too.
($45 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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