Santa Maria Valley
I love the fine fruit and excellent balance this vineyard gives. Solomon Hills is on the western edge of the Santa Maria Valley Appellation, so it’s climatically very cool. Planted to the Dijon clones of chardonnay, it has none of the typical California style of tropical fruitiness. It’s all lemon curd, pine and minerals–making it a great match with rich chicken dishes made with lots of cream.
The 2011 Chardonnay Solomon Hills comes across as elegant and refined. A delicate aroma of wet stones with a touch of nutmeg entices the palate. The wine follows through with a thick texture that is mineral, tangy/salty, and finishes with an aftertaste of poached pears. Sublime.
While some found the 2011 vintage to be challenging or even hellish, we loved it! Sure, with any difficult vintage (cool weather, excessive heat, high rainfall) there will be some hiccups, but overall we were able to craft a simply thrilling lineup of wines. Weather trumps everything else in grape growing, and the summer of 2011 was the summer that never arrived. In warm Ojai it never got hot, and in Santa Maria and Lompoc, it was downright cold. This had a profound effect on the vines and the grapes they produced. Hot weather burns off delicate aromatics and acidity and helps produce lots of sugar, so cool 2011 gave us grapes and wines of unusual aromatic intensity and fresh acidity–all brought together with a gentler texture due to lower alcohol.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Alc: 13.7% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 10 Months | Total Production: 252 cases
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Pale gold. Vibrant, mineral-driven scents of white peach, Meyer lemon, honeysuckle and mint. Stony and refreshingly dry, with very good lift and cut to its citrus and orchard fruit flavors. The floral note sneaks back in with air, along with a suggestion of bitter quinine. Shows a suave blend of power and finesse and finishes long, with excellent clarity and lingering minerality.”- JR 92 Points
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“Lemon peel, spices and white flowers open up nicely in the 2011 Chardonnay Solomon Hills Vineyard. There is a lovely sense of oily richness in the glass, yet the 2011 remains polished and poised throughout.” -AG 89 Points