Santa Maria Valley
When I taste pinots from other areas, I often criticise them for their blandness and timidity. And more often than not, they are just too heavy to drink more than one sip. This Solomon Hills pinot noir is different. It’s a wine full of personality, literally filled with berries and cherries and fascinating citrus notes. Because we’re picking the grapes a little earlier than in the past, this wine is alive and racy, making it especially food friendly.
Planted the furthest west of any vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley appellation, Solomon Hills is a cool spot. The soil is pure sand, so the vines grow with a decided lack of vigor, and the production per acre rarely gets to two tons, which is considered very low. In 2006 we got 3.3 tons from two acres. We destem the fruit, go for a cold soak of five days, ferment it hot, and press it into French oak barrels (a third of which are new) for aging. No SO2 is used during barrel aging, and it is never racked.. For convienence many people bottle their pinots shortly before the next harvest, however, we bottled this wine in January of 2008. The additional barrel time brings greater complexity to pinot, and with this wine we were particularly happy with the progress it made in those extra few months. You can drink this Solomon Hills pinot noir today and enjoy its savory brashness, but it will certainly continue to evolve for the next several years.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alcohol: 14.0% | Vinification: 30% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 14 Months | Total Production: 200 cases
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Saturated red. Powerful scents of ripe cherry and dark berries plus a hint of dark chocolate. The most brooding of this set of pinots, offering weighty cherry preserve and cocoa flavors, with a slow-building peppery quality. Becomes firmer on the finish, which features smoky herbs and licorice. A serious pinot that could use some time to stretch out.” – JR 90+ Points