2010 Brewer-Clifton "Gnesa" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

SKU #1114280 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Vivid yellow. High-pitched citrus fruits on the nose, with slow-building smokiness and complicating notes of candied ginger, jasmine and iodine. Sharply focused Meyer lemon and quince flavors stretch out with air and pick up weight. Deeper pear and melon flavors come up on the finish, which lingers with impressive intensity and mineral-driven persistence.  (10/2011)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Brewer Clifton’s 2010 Chardonnay Gnesa is intense in its color and flavors. This is a decidedly big, broad-shouldered wine with plenty of acidity to back up the rich, vivid fruit. Apricots, nectarine, almonds, flowers and spices flesh out on the generous, inviting finish. The western and southern borders of this site are adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.  (8/2012)

K&L Notes

This four-acre vineyard was planted in 1996 by Lee Gnesa, and the 2010 vintage produced a modest 288 cases of Chardonnay. Brewer-Clifton is the sole producer of the vineyard site, and they also assumed responsibility of farming it in 2009. From the winery: "Aromas of white pepper, chalk and lime followed by flavors of verbena, basil and lemon bar. Extremely taut, drying and focused palate impression."

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Price: $34.99
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Staff Image By: Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/21/2013 | Send Email
This was the Chardonnay that blew us away on our trip to Brewer Clifton. Fresh picked pear and wet limestone aromatics jumped from the glass. Ripe, round flavors of green apple, peach, and lemon were brought back into focus by great acidity. This absolutely sound wine lingered long after the glass was finished.

Staff Image By: Sarah Covey | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/19/2013 | Send Email
Now I'm not usually a person who drinks Chardonnay (nothing against it, it's just not really my cup of tea), but the "Gnesa" is one I could absolutely enjoy multiple glasses of! I had it on a hot day, sitting in the vineyard in Santa Rita Hills, enjoying a turkey & cheese sandwich with all the fixin's, and the Gnesa was SINGING! Pretty apple, pear, spice, mineral with medium plus acidity and a long, lingering finish. Absolutely delicious!

Additional Information:



- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.