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
“Another beauty is the 2015 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills, and is sees just a touch of whole cluster (15%) and is brought up mostly in neutral barrel. It’s lighter ruby color is followed by a darker fruited, earth, damp earthy quality that I love. It’s not a big wine, but it has plenty of tension, fine tannin and lots of saltiness that comes out with time in the glass.”- JD 92+ Points
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2015 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills is a very pretty wine, but it also shows quite a bit of whole cluster influence in this vintage. Dried flowers, tea leaves, mint, pine and sweet dried cherries all lift from the glass, while silky tannins in the background provide a supportive underpinning. Readers who enjoy floral, savory Pinots will find much to admire. I confess I prefer the Solomon Hills when it has a bit more fruit and midpalate stuffing.” – AG 90 points