Santa Maria Valley
It’s taken me quite a few years to understand Solomon Hills Pinot Noir. Like the Chardonnay from this vineyard, it produces an intensely flavored wine. The site is so close to the Pacific Ocean with its cool breezes, that fruit set is chronically poor so we never have a big crop. This gives us a wine that has tons of character and we’ve found that by extracting the flavors from the grape skins more gently during fermentation we make a friendlier and better balanced wine. And even with this special treatment the wine is far from meek, it’s a bold offering with lots to say!
One might not expect such a cool spot to ripen its fruit early, but what’s unique about western Santa Maria Valley is that the weather varies little during the year. Winters are mild and the vines respond by budding out early, so by the time August arrives the vines have already had a long growing season. In 2014 the harvest was particularly early and we made a profusely fruity wine with zesty citrus notes and a soft, easy going texture.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.5% | Vinification: Open top fermentation with 10% whole clusters | Barrel Aging: 15 Months in French Oak, 25% New | Total Production 300 Cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“Ojai’s 2014 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills is one of the bolder, more forward wines in the range. A blast of dark red cherry, plum, mint, lavender and spice make a strong first impression. Succulent and juicy in style, the Solomon Hills offers plenty of immediacy and near term appeal, but there is more than enough structure beneath to support at least a handful of years of fine drinking.” – AG 94 Points