Like many of my wine discoveries, this one was made because I liked the label. Then I read that it was a Wine Value of the Year from Wine Spectator, so I bought a bottle. (OK, I bought two bottles – and I’m going to buy more.) What is it? A Chardonnay of all things. A California Chardonnay. More specifically, a Chardonnay made by Greg Brewer in Los Olivos, just north of Santa Barbara. And it is (drum roll, please) DIATOM. I was having chicken for dinner and decided to open a bottle. Wow. It’s ethereal. Lovely in the glass – pale straw color – and a nose bursting with such fresh notes of citrus and a whiff of honeysuckle that the aroma by itself was intoxicating. On the palate it’s light-bodied, but layered with flavor notes that bring out the very best in the grape and really wake you up to what you’re tasting. I fell in love with the wine, which is helpful, because since researching it, I’ve also fallen in love with the story. Here’s what Brewer says about his wine: “Diatom is motivated by the pursuit of subtraction and refinement. It is the polishing of a grain of rice until one has reached its ultimate inner core. Our Sta. Rita Hills marine landscape is stark and so are the wines of its provenance. We strive for a recognition of place with as little disturbance, distraction or interference as possible. The resulting wines have a sense of transparency and a purity of intent and purpose.” Yup. I’m a fan.