Delights From Promising Palmina

By Robert Parker

The grapes are grown and the wines are made on California's central coast, but Palmina wines taste like fine Italian cuvées. The whites in particular are exceptional—crisp, dry, and light to medium-bodied. Under the meticulous management of Steve Clifton, who started the winery in his basement in 1995, and his wife, Chrystal, I'm sure the already very good reds will catch up to the quality of the whites. For more information, visit or call (805) 735-2030.

2006 Pinot Grigio Honea Vineyard

90 points. This crisp, medium-bodied white boasts loads of citrus blossom, pear, and honeysuckle. $20

2006 Pinot Grigio Alisos Vineyard

89 points. Fresh apple, pear, and orange blossom scents rise from the glass. A distinctive minerality and impeccable elegance characterize this lovely cuvée. $20

2005 Dolcetto

87 points. The name may suggest sweetness, but the wine is dry. This wine possesses a chocolate/mocha character, no noticeable tannin, and a satisfying, fruity personality. Enjoy it over the next several years. $20

2005 Barbera

89 points. This red shows sweet and sour cherry, licorice, and herb notes. It also has excellent density, power, and ripeness and should drink well for five to six years. $22

2006 Tocai Friulano Honea Vineyard

90 points.

Tocai is widely planted in northeast Italy's Friuli region, and this version exhibits crisp acidity along with notes of ripe apples, pears, and tropical fruit. The delightful aromatics are followed by beautiful fruit on the entry as well as a dry, zingy finish. $24

2006 Arneis Honea Vineyard

88 points. Arneis is a white grape indigenous to northwest Italy's Piedmont, and this impressive effort nearly matches the best Italian arneis. The wine offers attractive notes of green apples, honey, citrus blossom, fresh flowers, and a touch of wet stones. $26

2005 Barbera Honea Vineyard

90 points. Aged in French oak, this single-vineyard wine exhibits beautifully integrated pain grillé, smoke, black cherry, and chocolate espresso notes as well as fabulous richness, and a zesty finish. $28

2006 Malvasia Bianca Larner Vineyard

90 points. This superb white has honeyed grapefruit/tropical fruit scents. On the palate, it's dry, light, and exuberant. $28

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

Robert Parker is the world's most influential wine critic. Visit to see tens of thousands of tasting notes, buy his books, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.

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