2017 Diatom, Chardonnay “Santos Road” 3-D Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills.
The Greg Brewer made, single clone Diatom, Chardonnay “Santos Road” known as the Hyde clone, is sourced from a tiny unique sandy parcel within Brewer-Clifton’s 3D Vineyard along Santos Road. Brewer is a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir specialist, known for his work at Brewer-Clifton (with Steve Clifton, who has since left BC and gone on to make some wonderful wines with his own  La Voix label) and Melville, and when the history of California Chardonnay is written Greg Brewer is going to be on the first page among the greats including Hanzell, Swan, Chalone, Kistler, Littorai and Aubert to name a few, anyone who had his mind-blowing early years Brewer-Clifton’s like their 2000 Mt. Carmel Vineyard or their later Sweeney Canyon(s) with understand! As with all of Brewer’s Diatom Chards, the fermentation done at very low temperatures using only small stainless steel tanks, with special yeasts and no malo-lactic, with exceptionally short hose travel to ensure precision and focus, they are Inox wines, made without any oak at all. When you taste Diatom, in my opinion, you get a tour of the zen like focus of Brewer’s mind, these are laser precision wines that channel the inner purity of Chardonnay down to it’s core essences, they are unlike any other Chardonnays you are likely to find and have a cult like following. The hyper clear transparency and crisp detail of this new Diatom Santos Road Chardonnay is amazing, it starts with white blossoms, almost tropically floral, and it’s almost Sauvignon Blanc like with lively citrus notes, delivering an electric shock of lemon/lime, grapefruit and tangerine, before slowly revealing Asian pear, kiwi and green apple flavors on the tangy medium bodied palate, along with Chablis like chalky stones, mineral steeliness, saline and refined acidity. As it warms in the glass things unfold and surprising texture emerges, adding a melon fleshiness with subtle ripe notes, but it’s 14.5% alcohol not showing in any obvious way, and it always stays vividly lifted and bright. I chose to pop the cork on this Santos Road first of these five new releases from Diatom and In can’t wait to try the rest of the set, especially with fresh sushi, these are fascinating wines that always impress, don’t let these get away.
($40 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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