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.
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
I continue to love this vineyard, which is located in the cooler Santa Maria Valley, just west of Bien Nacido, and the 2016 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills from Tolmach certainly delivers the goods in 2016. Black cherries, spring flowers, damp underbrush, and a kiss of reduction all flow to a focused, fresh, and tight Pinot Noir that has terrific balance, a focused texture, and a great finish. It needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will have over a decade of prime drinking. Jeb Dunnuck- 94+ Points
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2016 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills offers terrific depth and intensity, but it is also a bit reduced, something I am not used to seeing in Ojai Pinots. Even so, the purity of the dark red cherry and plum fruit is striking. The 2016 is a wine of deep intrigue, but it is not anywhere near ready to show all of its cards.” 2020-2031 93+