2011 Palmina Santa Barbara County Dolcetto
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Starting off the reds, the 2011 Dolcetto is a rich, rounded and quaffable effort that delivers loads of ripe cherry, strawberry, bramble and rose petal-like aromas and flavors in a medium-bodied, easygoing package. It’s delicious and should be enjoyed over the coming year or two. Drink now-2015. Without a doubt, Steve Clifton is producing some of the finest examples of Italian variety wines in California. While I think you get the most bang for the buck from Steve’s more inexpensive whites and reds, his upper-tier Nebbiolos and blends certainly have unique characters and offer high quality.
The 2011 Dolcetto is exceptionally beautiful. Dark red cherries, flowers, mint and spices; they all flow with effortless grace from the glass. The 2011 is relatively translucent and light in body for this Piedmontese variety, but all the elements are in the right place. Sweet floral and minty notes reappear on the finish. The vineyard sites are Walker (70%) and Honea (30%), both in Santa Barbara. Drinking window: 2013 - 2017 I have been a big fan of Steve and Chrystal Clifton's Palmina wines for some time, but never have I tasted such a consistently outstanding set of wines as I did during a visit earlier this summer. I tasted a another handful of wines that weren't final blends yet but that were scheduled to be bottled in August. I will report on those wines as soon as I have a chance to taste them.
There are few wineries stateside who manage to do Italian varietals justice in the way that Steve Clifton of Palmina does. The 2011 Palmina Dolcetto is easy-going, with bright berry fruit and a touch of spice. An undercurrent of licorice and minerals.