97 Point Diatom Offer
Tuesday 21st June 2011
2009 Diatom Chardonnay Offer - from Greg Brewer
'No one else in California is doing anything remotely like what Greg Brewer has achieved with Diatom' - Robert Parker
‘If these wines don't get your attention, you must be dead’ – Anon (but in reference to these wines!)
He’s a jolly looking sort Greg Brewer and has every right to be – a man who has completely reversed one’s expectations of Californian Chardonnay with his Diatom range from California’s Central Coast. The development of project Diatom is with a view to producing a series of rapier-like Chardonnay wines that bring to mind the individual Grand Cru sites of Chablis and his inspiration is none other than a certain monsieur Francois Raveneau. Chablis but perhaps deviated prism-like via the dark side of the moon and taking in a Japanese philosophy course along the way!! Extraordinary wines but unlike any sweet or soupy Californian Chardys you have ever tasted. Perfect for drinking alongside oysters, Japanese influenced seafood, hugely adaptable, in fact, these could be described as extreme experiments in expression of terroir. That sounds like it might be a bad thing or a tremendously uncomfortable experience like playing Schoenberg all night long, at full tilt, during your casual drinks party. But not a bit of it – they are wines to admire but most of all to savour and enjoy. They see no oak, nor malo-lactic fermentation and nor is there any tricked up lees-stirring influence on the wines. The blade like purity and precision that results from a long, cool fermentation and early bottling is a thing of marvel. The fruit profile is restrained but pure and subtly expressed – and all extraneous extra details are, as I said, absent from these wines. But like the great Northern Burgundies all the elements are in there for a complex development in bottle. Parker has favoured the Huber vineyard with an enormous 97 point rating although it was the restraint, balance and glorious drinkability of Clos Pepe that particularly appealed to me. Horses for courses I guess – or perhaps I am an acid freak – but no need to go knocking my hobbies, Mr Parker (I don’t know what short acids in wine are, incidentally – maybe long acids are the future. So here’s to the long acids!)
Overall I think that the wines ALL have something different to say about their origins – the picture above left shows a lesser-spotted bottle of the Huber in its natural environment – sshhh or you will frighten it off. I must say Mr Brewer even looks a bit French but his ‘vibe’ is very Californian indeed and this natural-born boundary-crosser is crafting mini -symphonies in 750 millilitre form. Tours de force by the bottle – they are quite unlike anything else on the New World wine scene. They are wines for the palate, the intellect and the dinner table too.
Please note these wines are extremely limited – 2 to 4 case quantities only for the wines below
2009 Diatom Chardonnay, Clos Pepe Vineyard £275 per case of 12 under bond
The 2009 Chardonnay Clos Pepe (14.7%) has very short acids, which kept my score from going higher. It is a more medium-bodied wine, with notes of orange zest, quince, white currant, straw, and wet stones. The acid levels are ferocious, and while the wine is fresh and focused, you have to be a real acid freak to enjoy this. At any rate, there is not much of this wine, since it comes from a one-acre parcel, compared to the three-acre parcel of the Prum Canyon. 90 points, Robert Parker
Pale yellow. Pungent orange pith, pear and anise on the nose, with a hint of floral honey. Juicy, penetrating citrus fruit flavors pick up power in the glass, with tangy minerality providing lift. Finishes dry and with excellent clarity, repeating the lemon, anise and herb notes. This wine's energy is impressive. 92 points, Steven Tanzer
2009 Diatom Chardonnay, Babcock Vineyard £325 per case of 12 under bond
My two favorites included the 2009 Chardonnay Babcock, which comes from sandy clay/loamy soils in the Santa Rita Hills over shale, and tips the scales at 15.5% alcohol. This wine has more honeysuckle, orange blossom, nectarine notes, with a hint of tropical fruit. It has terrific acidity as well, but it possesses explosive ripeness, richness, and a broad, complex texture and finish. This superb Chardonnay should drink well for 3-4 years.
95 points Robert Parker
Bright yellow. A heady, decadent bouquet exudes nectarine, singed orange, pear skin, licorice and iodine, with exotic cinnamon and floral notes adding complexity. Vibrant and expansive, offering pure citrus and orchard fruit flavors and an intense mineral undertone. This is carrying 15.5% alcohol but no way I'd have guessed that. Nervy, dusty and strikingly floral on the finish, which strongly echoes the orange and floral notes. 93 points, Steven Tanzer
2009 Diatom Chardonnay, Huber Vineyard £345 per case of 12 under bond
The 2009 Chardonnay Huber, from an old Wente clone that boasts 24 years of age, is the purest, most grand cru Chablis-like of all these wines. Lemon and lime blossoms intermixed with nectarine, tangerine, honey, and powdered rock are all present in this full-bodied, exquisite Chardonnay that proves that blockbuster power and quintessential finesse can be one and the same thing in a wine. It should drink well for 3-4 years. 97 points, Robert Parker
Light, bright gold. High-pitched aromas of citrus zest, white peach, honeysuckle and chalky minerals. Large-scaled but dry, with powerful lemon, orange and floral flavors underscored by iodine and chalk. Blends power and vivacity smoothly and finishes on a strong, earthy note and with excellent clarity. This is all Wente clone, Brewer told me. 93 points, Steven Tanzer
These wines are available for delivery now – try them absolutely unique!
Our normal terms apply. Delivery charges may apply. Subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.
For further information email Kenny Stewart or call 01865 263304.