Santa Maria Valley

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My goodness! This wine is huge. While not in the vein of the sweet-edged, overripe monsters I like to make fun of, it still is a wine of amazing extract. Our spot at Solomon Hills is planted to Dijon clone 667, and in this cool climate it produces scrawny clusters with tiny berries-the typical yield is 1.5 tons to the acre, a painfully small crop. In 2008 this made an intense wine that drinks well with hardy fare now but is still many years from its peak.

The fruit was picked during the night to keep it cool. It arrived at the winery early in the morning and was destemmed without crushing the berries. The fruit was put in open top stainless steel vats and after a 5 day cold soak, the native yeast began fermenting. During that time we punched down (mixed) the vats by hand, and this continued until the fermentation was complete. The new wine was pressed and  transferred to French oak barrels for aging (30% were new). The wine was left untouched for the next 14 months. Then it was carefully racked off the sediment and bottled without filtration.

Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 14.0% | Vinification: 30% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 14 Months | Total Production: 93 cases

Press Reviews

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

“Bright medium red. Spicy black raspberry, potpourri and Asian spices on the captivating nose. Aromatic, focused and sweet, with a firm spine of acidity adding vivacity to its pure red and dark berry preserve flavors. Impressively bright on the back end, which features a chewy impression of extract, tangy minerality and excellent length.” – JR 92 Points

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“The 2008 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills presents a more balsamic profile. Menthol and sweet spices wrap around a core of black cherries in this muscular, broad-shouldered Pinot. This is a fairly intense style for Ojai in this vintage, and it works beautifully.” -AG 93 Points


“The most complex nose in the range puts on display aromas of black cherry, red and black raspberry plus hints of plum, spice, cranberry and violets. The rich and generous medium weight flavors possess plenty of dry extract and while there is a fleshy texture there is also solid precision and exquisite balance to the lengthy finish. One to consider.” 92 Points