2023 Diatom Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County – WS 93

2023 Diatom Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County – WS 93



From the little known Los Alamos Valley, the limestone soils and the nearby Pacific Ocean provide a wine with bright citrus notes, tropical aromatics and a lovely briny finish. All stainless steel, without malolactic, but with extended lees contact which intensifies the aromatics and flavors on the palate.  Mt Eden Clone (and 4, 17, and 72).  Produced by Greg Brewer of Clifton-Brewer.  For us, this value quencher is like a rendition of “California Chablis”.  Fresh, vibrant and “terroir” expressive.

“This stunning wine leaps out of the glass, with concentrated flavors and aromas of white peach, quince and pineapple, plus floral accents of orange blossoms and lemon curd. Finishes with mouthwatering acidity, a note of crunchy sea salt minerality and a whiff of lemon verbena. Drink now.” – 93 points, Wine Spectator  —M.W.

“Under his Brewer-Clifton label, Greg Brewer’s Chardonnays have long been intense, vibrant and expressive. His Diatom Chardonnay is just as precise and refined—but in an even more transparent way. As he puts it, he’s trying to capture Chardonnay before it becomes “something else.” That means the grapes are picked at night, pressed, cold-fermented in stainless steel and bottled early. Without the distractions of malolactic conversion, oak treatment or extended aging, this is one the most primal expressions of Chardonnay from one of the coldest regions in California. It’s also one of the most exciting white wines I reviewed last year—a restrained, savory and tightly wound bundle of mouthwatering energy. Minus any extra winemaking wizardry, the purity of Chardonnay under Brewer’s deft hand and minimalist approach has never been more thrilling, powerful or intense.