Pinot Grigio – Santa Barbara County
100% Pinot Grigio from Santa Barbara County. Fermentation with 100% native yeast in stainless steel tanks. Aging in neutral French Oak for about 6 months. When Steve Clifton first launched Palmina in 1995, he only made red wine. At that time, the only white grapes available that were recognized as Italian in Santa Barbara County were Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio). Having worked in restaurants for many years, Steve promised himself he was not going to make another Pinot Grigio that consumers viewed as “a water substitute.” What sets Palmina’s Pinot Grigio apart is its texture and flavors, a result of both Steve’s meticulous farming practices and winemaking style.
Santa Barbara County is one of those picture-perfect places for Pinot Grigio, which after all is a closely related cousin to the finicky and particular Pinot Noir for which the County is quite famous. The west-to-east valleys of Santa Barbara County funnel cool sea fog and breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean each morning, keeping the thin skinned Pinot Grigio cool and crisp. Toward midday, the fog lifts so that the bright sun can ripen each berry, turning the pine-cone shaped clusters to a bluish, rosy bluish (Grigio meaning gray in Italian) color. Afternoon breezes kick in each day and cool nighttime temperatures retain the grape’s natural acidity and sense of place.
A very “pretty” wine with beautiful aromas of lychee, passion fruit, lemon curd and Kafir lime. The palate is a perfect balance of creamy texture and noticeable acidity. The wine finishes with a clean “lemon drop” finish that lingers pleasantly. 12.5% alcohol. 1400 cases produced.
About the Producer
Palmina’s philosophy, passion and strongly held belief is that wine is an extension of the plate, a component of a meal and a means to bring people together. Formed by winemaker Steve Clifton (of La Voix Winery) in 1995, Palmina is named in honor of Steve’s great friend Paula. Like a grandmother to him, she taught Steve the love of cooking, wine, the Italian lifestyle, and was a spark in his life. After Paula succumbed to breast cancer, Steve found that her given name on her Italian birth certificate was Palmina, and the winery was thus fittingly named. First made in the basement of Steve's home, the wines, crafted solely from Italian varieties, are now produced in the famed Lompoc “wine ghetto”.
Steve found that the climate and soil types in Santa Barbara County are similar to those in his favorite regions of Northern Italy, namely Piemonte and Friuli. All feature cold air pushing warm air to create growing conditions that provide enough sunlight to help fully develop fruit flavors. And all three regions enjoy cool night temperatures that maintain the grape’s natural acidity levels, which allows winemakers to create “food wines” with a balance of fruit, tannin and acid. Palmina wines are Italian by inspiration with flavors rooted in Santa Barbara County.
Palmina “pure farms” its 11 acres in Santa Barbara County. Pure farming gives back more than it takes. Unwavering in its farming standards, Palmina does not utilize herbicides or pesticides. Weed-clearing is done through laborious hand-hoeing, with critical soil nutrients reintroduced by planting organic legumes and grasses between the vines. With mindful intention, organic, sustainable and biodynamic practices are utilized.
About Steve Clifton: his appreciation for Italian wines began while working in Italian restaurants. His first wine job was in the tasting room at Rancho Sisquoc where he eventually graduated to the position of Assistant Winemaker. Over the next few years he held winemaking positions at Beckmen, Brander and Domaine Santa Barbara wineries, and managed from 1995 to 1998 the retail section of The Wine Cask in downtown Santa Barbara. He met Greg Brewer in 1995 and formed a partnership that became Brewer-Clifton, a winery solely devoted to vineyard-designated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills appellation in western Santa Barbara County. In 2015, Steve decided to focus on Palmina and la Voix. Before wine, he had a successful career as a nightclub entrepreneur and in the music industry as a musician, singer, booking agent, and studio producer.