Santa Maria Valley
2009 was a great year for Solomon Hills Vineyard in Santa Barbara County’s cool Santa Maria Valley—it produced a tiny crop of savory and intense fruit that we nurtured into a wine that immediately impressed the critics. But, as good as it tasted soon after bottling, I knew that if I held onto this chardonnay for a couple of extra years it would really show its stuff. For economic reasons we sold most of the wine to our wholesalers, who were clamoring for a modestly priced 94 point chardonnay, and held back the rest for our direct customers. In May 2013 I opened a bottle and was thoroughly pleased with its evolution. While time has brought a measure of richness and complexity, this wine still possesses a lightness of being and wonderful freshness that makes it a joy to drink during this hot summer weather.
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. While the 2008 version of this wine was racy and flamboyant, this 2009 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.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Alc: 14.0% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 10 Months | Total Production: 276 cases
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2009 Chardonnay Solomon Hills literally hovers on the palate with incomparable grace and class. The style is one of exceptional textural elegance. Cool, mineral notes, and a hint of spice frame a vibrant core of citrus in this bright, beautifully focused Chardonnay. The Solomon Hills is made from Dijon clones planted in 1999. It is an absolutely fabulous wine for the money.” – AG 94 Points
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Light, bright gold. Riper and more expressive than the Bien Nacido bottling but missing some of that wine’s precision. Plump, expansive orchard and pit fruit flavors are lifted and energized by gentle acidity. The silky finish shows very good persistence and lingering spiciness.” – JR 91 Points