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2018 Diatom (Brewer-Clifton) "Katherine's" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Elsewhere $40)

SKU #1511201 95 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark All clone 4 from a site just beside Bien Nacido, the 2018 Chardonnay Katherine’s has an Alsatian slant in its green citrus, tangerine, white flower, and honeysuckle aromas and flavors. With beautiful purity, plenty of minerality, medium to full body, and a crisp, layered style, this gorgeous Chardonnay does everything right. Inner quote mark (10/2019)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The 2018 Chardonnay Katherine's comes from clone four, self-rooted vines that are 49 years old. It has a wonderfully open, perfumed nose of ripe quince, peaches and apricot, sweet hay, dried chamomile, orange blossom, spring honey and toasted almonds plus hints of crushed shell, lime peel and saline. The light to medium-bodied palate offers intense, seriously minerally flavor layers with great supporting texture and juicy acidity, finishing long, layered and energetic. (EB) Inner quote mark (9/2018)

94 points Vinous

Outer quote mark The 2018 Chardonnay Katherine's, from the Cambria estate in Santa Maria, exudes depth and old-vine character in its powerful, dense feel. These 50-year-old, own rooted vines confer striking complexity and character. This is such a compelling wine. (AG) Inner quote mark (9/2018)

91 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark Extremely jubilant aromas of Fruit Stripe gum, guava, pineapple and mango make for a fresh and lively nose on this bottling. The palate zips with acidity that cuts through the ripe peach, pear and pineapple-guava flavors, which are powerful yet framed in a tense texture. (MK) Inner quote mark (9/2019)

K&L Notes

Diatom is a small project from legendary winemaker, Greg Brewer. These wines focus on single site Chardonnays from across Santa Barbara County mostly focused on sites with largely diatomaceous based soils. These ocean derived soils produce wines with a distinctive mineral quality and Greg's winemaking uses very little oak and minimal intervention so nothing masks the vineyard's true sense of place. Katherine's comes from a very special block of vines that is now 50 years old! The vines are own rooted and produce Chardonnay of immense power and minerality. (Ryan Woodhouse, K&L Domestic Wine Buyer)


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By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/8/2020 | Send Email
First and foremost this is an absolutely delicious and eminently drinkable bottle of wine. Anyone who follows my staff reviews will know that "quaffability" is very high on my list of admirable qualities. However, if you manage to pause long enough to really savory this wine (and I tried very hard to for the purposes of this review) you will find a wine of depth and complexity with a core of undeniable minerality. The wine has a beautiful floral component, apple blossom and honeysuckle lead into flavors of poached pear, golden quince, and salt preserved lemon. A powerful, oceanic quality of sea spray and oyster shell pervades the wine and adds lovely complexity and umami character. The mouth feel is also very interesting as the wine is at once racy and zesty with plenty of verve but also has a a sense of natural density and extract perhaps owing to the vines that are 50 years old and growing on their own roots. Greg Brewer has once again subtly crafted a wine that perfectly represents this historic, cool-climate site in Santa Maria Valley and gives us a bottle of uniquely California Chardonnnay that we can feel very proud of.

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