2013 Brewer-Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright yellow. Vibrant pear and Meyer lemon aromas are complicated by anise, ginger and smoky minerals. Dry, nervy and sharply focused, offering intense, mineral-laced citrus and orchard fruit flavors and a touch of bitter quinine. At once rich and precise, nicely blending power and stony vivacity. A suave floral quality builds through the finish, which shows excellent clarity and floral persistence. Imagine chardonnay grown and made by a serious Galician winemaker. The 2013 chardonnays here were being prepared for bottling and were not in a state to taste so I was only able to try Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton's entry-level bottling, which was perhaps the best "basic" wine I tasted during the course of my trip. Taking that into account, I expect that the single-vineyard offerings, which are scheduled to be released in January, should be high-priority buys for fans of this winery. As usual, the 2012 pinots were made entirely with whole clusters and show the flamboyant fruit of the vintage to full effect, but the wines have more than enough acidity and framework to suggest that they'll age gracefully. Brewer thinks that they'll be appealing to those "who drink pinot for its sex appeal" as well as those "who want them to show a little more mystery" down the road. (JR)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A solid step-up from the 2012, the 2013 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills offers lots golden fruits, honeysuckle, brioche and a touch of sauteed pear-like notes to go with a medium-bodied, ripe, yet balanced feel on the palate. Delicious, classic and beautifully made, this is an outstanding Chardonnay that has both freshness and texture. I'd drink it over the coming 3-4 years, but it will evolve for longer. (JD)
The 2013 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills is round, succulent and deeply expressive. Orange peel, butter, chamomile and apricot pit flesh out in the glass. The style is open-knit and accessible, with lovely oiliness and textural richness throughout. Vineyard sources are 3-D, Gnesa and Machado. This is a strong set of new releases from Brewer-Clifton. The Chardonnays in particular are brilliant, once again showing just how compelling this vintage can be. As always, the Chardonnays are built on texture and phenolic intensity. The Pinot Noirs are done with 100% whole clusters (the appellation wine sees 60-80%), with long cold soaks and maceration times lasting as long as 4-5 weeks. (AG)
Very clean and fresh without a trace of sweetness nor heaviness. Really racy and delicate. Bravissimo!
Intense and lively, with a touch of alcohol showing amid the rich fig, honeydew, honeysuckle and light oak notes. Holds together nicely and should gain within a few months. Shows a twinge of bitterness on the aftertaste. Drink now. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. (JL)