2010 Brewer-Clifton, Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills.
It really is hard to image a better or more interesting Chardonnay in California than the Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills, without question it offers the best value I’ve seen this year for sure. Steve Clifton and Greg Brewer really lead the way these days, making ever greater wines and refining their styles and taking more control in the vineyards which is making a huge difference. Greg Brewer, has to be considered a Chardonnay master and innovator, especially his dramatic Diatom Chardonnays that see no oak at all, but it is his Brewer-Clifton wines we are talking about here and this lovely Chassagne like Chardonnay that has grabbed my attention. The Chardonnays in the Brewer-Clifton lineup use no new oak and do not see extended lees contact or stirring, but they give plenty of richness and depth showing the true nature of the terrors and a lovely pureness. The 2010 Brewer-Clifton, Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills is a cuvee of great vineyard sites including the famed Mount Carmel Vineyard, 3-D Vineyard (owned by Brewer-Clifton) and other quality vines, it shows pretty white flowers, lemon and white peaches along with apple and pear fruit at the core with a touch of pineapple and a nice mineral laced core. The subtle oak smoke and vanilla add to the mix, but the wine feels clean and vivid with a Premier Cru Burgundy energy and elegance. Lingering lemon, fig and melon notes highlight the vibrant nature of the wine and it is hard not begging for more.
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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