- Item #: i_206040Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 92Vinous Media: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 95There is an alluring charm to the entire Central Coast wine producing region, but it was Santa Rita Hills that called to Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton. Besides the beauty of the land, the climate and the soil compositions there was a freshness in the air as the cool Pacific Ocean breeze filtered through the canyons and subsequent vineyards planted. For many years the two farmed the land and made outstanding wine, even earning praise from top critic Robert Parker Jr: "Two brilliant young winemakers, Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton, are symbolic of both the present and future of California high quality wine production." While the winery has been sold, Greg Brewer remains on board as head winemaker ensuring the vision both himself and Steve had along with the quality of the wine doesn't change for many years to come!
With the goal of expressing a comprehensive expression of the appellation, Brewer-Clifton selected four unique vineyard sites to create this Santa Rita Hills bottling. This blend is comprised of 3D, Machado, Acin, and Hapgood vineyards. As each vineyard has its own unique requirements, the winery manages each according to their inimitable needs rather than a macro approach to farming. Brewer-Clifton works to achieve a natrual balance between the site, the vines, the aspect and the microclimates in each vineyard, using sustainable and/or organic farming methods whenever possible.
JEB DUNNICK 95 POINTS - "One of the great values out there, the 2017 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills offers thrilling notes of white flowers, white peach, currants, and toasted bread. This ripe, sexy wine is unquestionably at the same level as the more expensive single vineyard releases, and it will evolve for just as long."
"This was another thrilling lineup from Greg Brewer, and I consistently rate these wines as some of the greatest in the Sta. Rita Hills, as well as all of Santa Barbara County. In addition to the latest releases, I was also able to taste retrospectives of his Chardonnay 3D and Pinot Noir Machado, which only reaffirmed my belief in the quality and age-worthiness of these wines. These are brilliant wines."
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay (Sta. Rita Hills) is a gorgeous appellation-level wine from Brewer-Clifton. Creamy and ample, the 2017 is absolutely delicious. Tangerine, mint, lemon peel and sweet spice notes all meld together in a striking, nuanced Chardonnay that hits all the right notes. The 2017 is positively stellar. That's pretty much all there is to it."
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Very spicy and well-structured, with firm acidity supporting the ripe pear, apple tart and lemon meringue flavors. Concentrated dried mango accents linger on the finish, along with pastry and nutmeg notes. Best from 2020 through 2025. 2,000 cases made"
- Item #: i_215880Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 93Dragonette strives to create Chardonnays of textural purity, complexity and balance with classic tension. Complexity and balance are achieved by meticulous attention to detail in the vineyard, where each vineyard block is managed for appropriate canopy and proper yields. Tension and textural purity begin in the vineyard with low yields and balanced acidity at harvest. Native yeast fermentation in clean oak cooperage and aging on the lees aid in preserving the purity of texture. Dragonette ages their wines on their lees, without racking, and constant topping. Moreover, each wine is bottled only after sufficient time in barrel to permit ideal evolution. The SRH blend is constructed from these individual components selected for diversity of site and soils to create complexity and harmony. This year, the wine is a blend of fruit from Donnachadh, Spear, and Bentrock vineyards, which are all organically or sustainably farmed.
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "Leading off the Chardonnays, the 2017 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills comes from multiple sites in the Sta. Rita Hills and was aged 15 months in 10% new French oak. It offers a classic Burgundian style in its ripe buttered orchard fruits, brioche, and toasty oak aromas and flavors, yet has plenty of classic Sta. Rita Hills salinity and minerality. Rounded and nicely textured, with good acidity, drink it over the coming 4-6 years."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay (Sta. Rita Hills) is lush, full-bodied and decidedly extroverted, and yet it retains quite a bit of freshness for such a big wine. Orange peel, almond, spice and tropical overtones all run through this creamy, voluptuous Chardonnay. This is easily one of the more extroverted 2017 Chardonnays I tasted. Fruit sources are Donnachadh, Spear, Rita's Crown, Radian and Bentrock. These Chardonnay lots spent 16-18 months in barrel."
- Item #: i_238710Bottle Size: 750mlDelightfully elegant floral notes of orange blossom, linden, and honeysuckle awaken your senses. Flavors are fresh and inviting on the palate with bright minerality complemented by zippy tangerine fruit. Soft oak notes linger on the finish with flavors of nutmeg, vanilla and toasted pecans. This 2016 has enough body to stand up to a wide array of foods and the balance to drink well on its own.
- Item #: i_275370Bottle Size: 750mlThe Santa Rita Hills is a small appellation at the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley that has gained national recognition for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Valley runs west to east, opening a gap in the coastal range, allowing the late afternoon ocean fog to roll in where it lingers until early morning. The surrounding hills trap the fog before it is dissipated in the wider Santa Ynez Valley. The fog cools the vines from the day's summer heat and it is this combination of warm days and cool nights that gives the wine its complexity as well as providing acidity to give it structure.
The 2018 Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay is a golden hay color with mild aromas of lemon zest,cantaloupe, and jasmine. Flavors of crisp pear, crushed gravel, and almond complete the palate.
- Item #: i_236870Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 92WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Golden Slope wafts from the glass with an expressive bouquet of buttered apples, smoke, toasted nuts, brioche and honeycomb. On the palate, it's medium-bodied, glossy and ripe, but remains fresh and succulent, finishing with good length and back-end grip. While it's one of the more open-knit, pleasure-bent of these Liquid Farm Chardonnays, it finds an appealing natural balance that also made it one of my favorites."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Golden Slope saw 15% new French oak, the balance was in neutral oak. Honeyed apples, melon, and ample mineral notes all flow to a rich, medium to full-bodied, mouthfilling effort that has nicely integrated acidity, solid mid-palate depth, and a big finish. It’s another outstanding wine from winemaker James Sparks that will keep for 5-7 years."
- Item #: i_241090Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 92This wine is 100% from Melville's Sta. Rita Hills estate and is a combination of clones 4, 76, 95, and selections Mount Eden, Hanzell and Wente. It is their core Chardonnay and comes predominantly from their west side vineyards that have several different types of sandy soils. Because the west side receives the brunt of brutal ocean-winds and has only poor soils, we feel this Chardonnay always captures the vibrancy, minerality and concentrated flavors that are hallmarks of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA.
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Estate is fascinating to taste next to the 2018. It is a bit less exotic and more citrus driven in profile, with notable persistence and fine overall balance. Lemon confit, baked apple and a kiss of new French oak meld together effortlessly. A hint of reduction add character without overpowering the wine."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "A terrific value, the 2017 Chardonnay Estate Sta. Rita Hills offers classic Sta. Rita Hills notes of spice citrus, salted orchard fruits, honeysuckle, and crushed rock-like minerality. Beautifully textured, medium-bodied, with high yet integrated acidity, it can be drunk today or cellared for upwards of a decade."
- Item #: i_252650Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Vinous Media: 93Racines is a collaboration of four great voices of wine. Justin Willett of Lieu Dit and Tyler has been joined in his home appellation, the Sta. Rita Hills, by Etienne de Montille and Brian Sieve of Domaine de Montille, and Rodolphe Peters of Pierre Peters. Together, they are marrying the time-honored techniques of Burgundy and Champagne with the pioneering energy of California-and, in the process, they are rediscovering the nuances of the appellation's most iconic vineyards.
Following the consolidation of Domaine de Montille, a family estate that dates back to the 1730s, Etienne de Montille looked to California, eager for an opportunity to engage new terroir with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as his lens. In 2016 he set off on a month of travel among the state's myriad appellations, meeting their winemakers, tasting their wines. In short order it became apparent that the promise he was seeking lay in the Sta. Rita Hills-and the partner for such ambition was already there.
By 2016 Justin Willett, a son of Santa Barbara and career winemaker, had over a decade of experience coaxing forth the character of the region's best vineyards. Etienne and Justin turned to compelling vineyard blocks that Justin had long coveted, and together they have presented refreshing new entries in the most important discussions of the appellation. And then, of course, there's Rodolphe Peters. In 2018, Rodolphe joined Racines in deepening their understanding of Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay. Their first sparkling wines, now en tirage, are likely to debut in late autumn.
The wines here possess more structure and resonance than encountered in Tyler's ethereal approach. New cooperage and custom vats, tailored to Etienne's technique, have been imported. The Pinots are composed using further stem inclusion, more extraction, and longer vatting. The Chardonnays are raised with more finessing of the fine lees and longer elevage. The results are immediately apparent in the glass: these are tensile and crystalline expressions of the Sta. Rita Hills- at once familiar and rendered anew.
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Sanford and Benedict has plenty of depth, texture and nuance, but it is also surprisingly tightly wound for a vintage in which wines are generally more open-knit. Bright, savory and intensely mineral, the 2017 is going to need time to soften. At this point, the 2017 is not terribly expressive of S-and-B, although it is quite attractive just the same."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Sanford and Benedict Vineyard has a youthfully shy nose, slowly opening to red apples, ripe white stone fruits, lemon cream and lime peel with notes of pastry and petrichor. The palate is light to medium-bodied, saline and precise, with tangy acidity and a pleasant touch of texture on the long, mineral-driven finish."
- Item #: i_260280Bottle Size: 750mlStarted in 2010 by Rajat Parr (wine director for Michael Mina restaurants) and Sashi Moorman (winemaker for Stolpman), Sandhi focus on crafting wine from select vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills area of Santa Barbara County. It is because of their focus for balance that these three are so determined to find vineyard sites from the Santa Rita Hills that are old-vine, have cold temperatures and windy exposures. They want wines with vibrancy, freshness and energy, so they prefer neutral barrel and concrete vessel, employing a conservative amount of new French oak, and all wines are wild-yeast fermented. All Chardonnays go through malo-lactic with the lees not stirred.
The vines' 47th vintage and Sandhi's 10th vintage. With each year there is a renewed appreciation and reverence for this pioneering, north-facing site, first planted in 1971. Without Sanford and Benedict, there may not be a Sandhi. The silex and clay over limestone soils imbue these wines with character and depth.
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Sanford and Benedict is such a wonderfully complete wine that expresses all of the pedigree of this historic Sta. Rita Hills site. Sweet, perfumed aromatics and radiant fruit envelop the senses. Lemon confit, marzipan and white flowers are some of the many aromas and flavors that open in the glass. The S-and-B is the most forthcoming of the Sandhi Chardonnays. I loved it."
- Item #: i_260260Bottle Size: 750mlThis is a special vintage as it marks the first time all of the grapes that went into this wine were grown on their own Domaine de la Cote estate. Wine is made in the vineyard and it is noticeable to us what a big step-up this vintage is in terms of complexity, ageability, and nuance because they controlled the farming.
This wine leads with a faint nose of reduction and flinty minerality. Rich notes of custard and lees mix with smoky notes of crushed rock and ocean spray. The tension on the palate offers a lively wine with textural richness that will age well for decades.
- Item #: i_295770Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92Zotovich Cellars is a family owned and operated boutique winery located in coastal Lompoc, California. Winemaker, Ryan Zotovich is coming most recently from Sea Smoke where he began working with Kris Curran. Prior to working at Sea Smoke, Ryan was the assistant winemaker at Palmina. With Ryan’s help, Zotovich Cellars is proud to offer small, closely monitored lots of estate wine. 100% of the grapes crushed into Zotovich wine are grown on the 35 acre Zotovich estate vineyard located off of Route 246, between Melville and Foley wineries.
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay is creamy, open-knit and wonderfully inviting. Light tropical notes, orchard fruit, spice and a kiss of French oak all meld together in a sensual, delicious Chardonnay that will drink well right out of the gate."