That’s a quote from my sister about Diatom, a chardonnay from the Santa Rita Hills. I’d picked up the wine from the store mostly because I’d never seen it before and because it had a white plastic blob instead of a capsule. (Packaging does count.) I was on my way to dinner with my mother and sister and aunt, and the sister and aunt are both woody chard fans. This looked promising.
I couldn’t have been further off. I’d prefer not to drink woody California chardonnays, but if they’re good, they’re good.
Diatom is a project of Greg Brewer, of Brewer-Clifton fame, and he is now making three wines under the Diatom, or diatom, label. Santa Rita has a cooler climate due to its geography. (We got a tutorial from Steve Clifton at the Cool Climate Symposium.) And the goals is to produce Chablis-like wine from the region’s chalky soil.
So why is it stupid?
It’s the 16.5 percent alcohol.
Which burns the gums and the hairs out of your nose.
Chablis and 16.5 percent alcohol are diatometrically opposed.
It smells like chardonnay. Applely and fresh, some smoke, mostly from reduction. On the palate there’s a little spritz, which took my oaky, creamy wine loving sister aback, and then the searing alcoholic finish. She put the glass down and picked up the bottle. “It’s 16 and a half percent alcohol,” she said. Then she added the stupid comment.
No one drank the wine.