Brewer Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2013 (750ml)

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92 points 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. (12/2014)

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