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DIATOM CHARDONNAY, KATHERINE'S VINEYARD, SANTA MARIA VALLEY 2017
NVWE Notes: Richly fruity, with a mineral-citric counterpoint, this is a gorgeous Chardonnay built for service with sashimi, raw oysters and any number of enchanting seafood entrees. The aromas seem chiseled and starkly dry, yet fruit-expressive, and they fan-out as a zesty array of fresh apple, quince, pear skin, pineapple core and peach blossom, cut by hard, almost flinty minerality. The fruity elements are every bit as pronounced on the palate, where they counterpoint an even stronger mineral presence. The finish is piquant, cutting-dry and lingers beautifully, adding notes of celery seed, peach pit and lemongrass to the blast of bright fruit promised by the aromas. Terrific now, it could prove fairly long-lived. 450 cases made, from 48 year old vines, with no oak barrel influence.
While Diatom was formerly wedded to sites in the Sta. Rita Hills, Brewer-Clifton produced a Chardonnay from Katherine's Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley (neighboring Bien Nacido) in the 1999 vintage, so in a sense this cuvée represents a return to old haunts. At 445 cases, the 2017 Chardonnay Katherine's is also by some margin Diatom's largest bottling this vintage. Notes of peach, grapefruit, pastry cream and lime cordial precede a medium-bodied, glossy, saline, acid-driven wine with beautiful purity and concentration.