Santa Maria Valley
Solomon Hills vineyard was planted to chardonnay and pinot noir in 1999 by the Miller family—the owners of Bien Nacido. It is on the cool western edge of the Santa Maria Valley appellation and consistently produces fascinating wines. The family got the idea to plant a tiny ½ acre plot of syrah, a late ripening varietal, to see if it could work in this cool spot. Somehow they had the idea that I might want to work with it and of course I was intrigued. The first crop was in 2008 and it managed to get fully ripe and was (is) a delicious wine. However in 2009 and 2010 the vines struggled to mature their crop and we were forced to harvest at sugar levels lower than we usually do. To my great surprise the wines turned out spectacularly, they both are a radical departure from what one expects from California syrah. Much more in tune with the syrah based wines from France’s northern Rhone, these Solomon Hills syrahs possess an earthy, peppery quality that is just sublime.
Blend: 100% Syrah | Alc: 12.6% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 14 Months | Total Production: 47 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2010 Syrah Solomon Hills Special boasts remarkable fruit density and tons of structure. Readers will have to give the 2010 Syrah Solomon Hills Special at least several years in bottle, as the fruit is huge and the tannins are equally imposing. Black pepper, savory herbs, tobacco and licorice all add complexity on the dramatic, full-bodied finish. This is stunning juice.” – AG 96+ Points