2011 Palmina Pinot Grigio “Santa Barbara”–really is more tasty, interesting than most of its Italian counterparts.  Seems like Steve & Chrystal Clifton are really in stride right now at growing & producing these Italian look-a-likes within the Santa Barbara appellation.  The 2011 comes from Alisos (Los Alamos); Honea (Alamo Pintado corridor) & from the Santa Rita Hills–both Hibbits & Hapgood vineyards.  The grapes are harvested at between 19.5 to 21.5 brix, whole cluster pressed and slowly fermented in stainless with NO ML.

2010 Alta Maria Sauvignon Blanc–another really eye opening Santa Barbara born white!!!!!  I always am challenged to find really interesting, worldly white wines like this from the New World.  The 2010 is roughly 80% from a vineyard in the cooler side of Solvang, 4 miles east of the Santa Rita Hills, which is own rooted, planted in 1972 with clone 1.  The other vineyard , which consists of the other 30% is White Hills located in Los Alamos, planted in 1986 & is also own rooted.  The juice is whole cluster pressed, aged in 70% in stainless & 30% in old oak & only partial ML.  We are REALLY impressed with this VERY limited wine, especially at under $13 a bottle.


Lieu Dit is a side project of Justin Willett of Tyler wines.  The way I look at it, Tyler is for Willet’s Burgundian varietals (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir) and Lieu Dit features his adventuresome side, in this case, Loire Valley look-a-likes (produced from Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc & Cabernet Franc).

In both cases, the wines are fabulous!!!!  Sleek, pure, transparent, masterfully crafted, balanced & well textured.

2011 Sauvignon Blanc–produced from 3 vineyards in Happy Canyon (eastern Santa Barbara)—Grassini (clay/clay loam), McGinley (steeper, more rocky) and Star Lane (lighter soils & warmer).  The wine is fermented with VL3 yeast, starting in tank and then finishing in old oak with NO ML.  With the first sip, one could easily see how Sancerre/Pouilly Fume like this wine really is……with GREAT texture & length.  Fabulous!

2011 Chenin Blanc–another amazing, stellar standout.   The vines are

own rooted, planted in roughly 1981 in a sandy soil parcel in Foxen Canyon, which explains the surprising ethereal-ness of the finished wine.  Whole cluster pressed, the fermentation starts out in stainless but finished in old oak.  Again, NO ML.  the minerality just heightens the wine’s wonderful buoyancy.

2011 Cabernet Franc–the grape sources for this juicy, sappy, bright, delicious & refreshing Bourgueil look-a-like is Star Lane & Three Creek.  Justin did several fermentations with the lots (including 1 done via carbonic just to enhance the fruitiness) & then it is aged in old oak.  Yes, we love how absolutely delicious & bright eyed & bushy tailed  this red wine really is.


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