With a motto of “affordable luxury,” Layer Cake sources Chardonnay fruit from the fringes of pricey appellations. In this case it draws from Monterey County vineyards near the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County vineyard between the Santa Maria Valley and the Sta. Rita Hills. The results are solid for the price, with expressive aromas of honeydew and vanilla soda, and a palate of juicy melon and toasted oak. It is slightly boozy, so very much in the cocktail style, and is not for those afraid of oak.
A fifth generation Californian originally from San Jose, Matt Kettmann covers California’s Central Coast and South Coast for the magazine. He is also the senior editor of The Santa Barbara Independent, where he’s worked since 1999, has written for the New York Times, Time Magazine, Wine Spectator, and Smithsonian, and co-founded New Noise Santa Barbara, a music festival.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.