Brewer-Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay was only $10 by the glass at Westside Tavern, downstairs from the Landmark Theater in the big mall on Pico. It's $40 per bottle retail, and the winery website shows that it is sold out.
On the nose, citrus, floral, pear and peach aromas put on a show, while the palate has all that lovely fruit plus a slight touch of oak. The smoky vanilla flavor is fantastic. There is also a savory aspect which reminds me a little bit of an Italian wine. The acidity is bright and fresh, and the wine finishes very cleanly and briskly.
That savory touch is described by Brewer-Clifton this way: "a saline quality that promotes an age worthy structure, the uniqueness of a wine region bordered on two of its four sides by the Pacific Ocean is clear." And, it is true that Santa Barbara County is two sides to the sea, so a maritime influence should be expected.
Three vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills contributed grapes to this wine, 3-D, Sweeney Canyon and Gnesa. The winery says their goal was to put forth "a comprehensive expression of the appellation," which it seems has been accomplished.
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