Santa Maria Valley
This intriguing site is located west of all other vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley and is planted with the latest Dijon clones of pinot noir and chardonnay. Although it isn’t situated in a particularly beautiful spot, Solomon Hills Vineyard has all the attributes necessary for great wine. The soil is both poor in nutrients and well drained, so the vines grow with a decided lack of vigor-a necessity for quality wine grapes. And the climate this far west in the valley is cool and allows pinot noir to mature slowly and retain nuanced aromatics and acidity. In the past the issue we faced with this vineyard was that it delivered too much! Its dark color, intense flavor and tannin came across as a bit clunky. After years of wavering I finally decided that a lighter touch in extracting the flavors during fermentation was needed. That single change has transformed this wine from leaden to lively. Over-extraction of the flavors from the grape skins actually hid the nuanced aromas that were always there. Always the most tense and wound up of our pinots in earlier vintages, this one is so much more approachable, but to enjoy it at its best I recommend laying it down for several years.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Vineyard: Solomon Hills | AVA: Santa Maria Valley | Alcohol: 13.0% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 15 Months | Total Production: 325 Cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“Freshly cut roses, violets, mint, licorice and pine lift from the glass in the 2012 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills. This is the most subtle, understated and perfumed of the Ojai Pinots, much of that a reflection of the sandy soils in this site, yet there is plenty of mid-palate resonance.” –AG 92 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Coming from a vineyard that lies within sight of the Pacific Ocean, the 2012 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills is a pretty, perfumed and elegant Pinot Noir that offers plenty of rose, violets and spice to go with light raspberry and red berry fruit. As with just about all of these 2012s, it has medium-bodied richness, vibrant acidity and a seamless, lightly textured profile on the palate. Picking up a slightly salty mineral-like quality with time in the glass, it’s an outstanding effort that will drink nicely for 5-6 years. ” – JD 92 Points