The SOMM Journal

April / May 2016

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24 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2016 { discoveries } A Unified "Voix": Chrystal Clifton is leading the rosé produc- tion, while husband Steve is focusing on Pinot Noir immedi- ately, with Chardonnay, Syrah and a Cabernet blend to follow. PHOTO: JEREMY BALL COMBINING STEVE CLIFTON'S PASSION for—and past life in—the music industry and a love for French varietals shared with wife and business partner Chrystal Clifton, the cel - ebrated Santa Barbara vintner's La Voix wines are expressive liquid interpretations of art and sound. Every label is from an original painting, the name of each wine or vineyard a rendition of what it would sound like if it had a voice as a song. Clifton pioneered farming and vinification of Italian varietals in Santa Barbara County with his Palmina label, while Chrystal took the reins of marketing and promoting the brand. In part - nership with Greg Brewer, the winemaker also achieved success with the Chardonnay- and Pinot Noir–specific Brewer-Clifton label, major- ity interest in which was sold in early 2015 to a group of outside investors. Debussy in Wine Country Creating a musical voice for French varietals on the Central Coast allows the Cliftons to be both composers and conductors. They also brought in artist Sarah Berger to hand-paint artwork for the labels to further the score and elevate La Voix to a visual as well as gustatory art. The styles of these Pinot Noirs are as unique as the beat and lyrics of each song they mirror—and that was a purposeful move on Clifton's part. "We had intention to show different expressions," he notes. "I try to be intuitive and rely exclusively on sensory analysis: smelling and tasting and looking in the sunlight so the fruit can tell me what it requires. I've made wines in California, Washington State and Argentina, and I thought I learned a lot about these places, but what I really learned about was myself." Singing the Praises STEVE AND CHRYSTAL CLIFTON CREATE "LA VOIX," A NEW VOICE FOR STA. RITA HILLS by Meridith May

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