Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Greg Brewer Visits CT : Presents Melville & Brewer-Clifton Wines


Greg Brewer has been making wine in the Santa Rita Hills appellation near Santa Barbara, California for sixteen years. He has a level of energy that is almost unlimited. He never stops moving (or talking) during a presentation. And the discussion can swing from advanced winemaking techniques to exotic food and wine pairings to introspective philosophy, all in one sentence.

Oh, and he makes really good wine, too.

The winemaker at Melville Wines for the past ten years, and the partner/owner of Brewer-Clifton Wines for even longer, Greg has had the opportunity to learn all the ins-and-outs of the Santa Rita Hills, an appellation that is one of the most diverse and coldest in all of California. Generally speaking, this appellation is about Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and small pockets of Syrah. Greg’s winemaking philosophy is essentially to have a completely clean and controlled environment so that the wines can do exactly what they want with as little interference as possible.

He wants to make sure the grapes are pristine when they arrive in the winery. This means sourcing, either off of the Melville Estate or from sourced vineyards, only the best quality grapes grown in accordance with his high standards. The grapes then go through an extended cold-soak, followed by maceration for color and flavor extraction, elevage and bottling, all with as little manipulation as possible. No detail is overlooked as the wines are made in very small lots and checked on a regular basis by the winemaker.

The effective style of Melville and Brewer-Clifton are wines that show their place, show there varietal character and leave nothing to the imagination. Greg feels that being completely honest is the best policy, both figuratively and literally. He makes wines that are exactly what they are supposed to be – pure, unique and focused. While his labels tell exactly what to expect – real alcohol levels of 14.8, 15.3 or 15.1 (and that’s just on the Chardonnays).

There is nothing left to the imagination after listening to Greg Brewer speak, he lays it all out there and begs you to throw something back. Whether it is his wines or his attitude, Greg Brewer is all about being honest, intense and pushing you to the limit of what he can deliver, or what you are willing to discover.

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