Hollywood expats Michael Fogelman and Lisa Liberati departed for the Santa Barbara area some years ago to make winemaking a full-time job. Here’s a look at two of Sweetzer’s current releases, both (surprisingly) from the 2016 vintage.
2016 Sweetzer Cellars Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley – This chardonnay is lively and vibrant on the whole, but it’s at times both overly green and overly oaky (though 80% of the wine is aged in neutral oak). Despite its moderate age, this chardonnay still hasn’t really found its stride, ping-ponging from tart lime to vanilla cream to sour apple notes and back. It’s a wine that’s always on the move — with notes of florals and figs emerging in time — always feeling just a bit too busy. B+ / $28
2016 Sweetzer Cellars Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County – Slightly unripe, this pinot offers notes that run more to cranberry than cherry, dusted with hints of licorice and thorny blackberry bramble. The finish is fairly short and austere, gently tannic and bittersweet with hints of dark chocolate and a sprinkle of cloves. It opens up slightly with time in glass, but never gets quite to where you feel it wants to go. B / $35