To understand the wines made by The Hilt, one might need to come visit the hard and harsh conditions under which they are born. The unobstructed, ocean facing east-west valley known as Sta. Rita Hills Valley is a complex AVA. One could divide it into four quadrants: northern-facing, southern-facing, close to the ocean, and further inland from the ocean. With such a frame, The Hilt’s favorite vineyards are in the northern-facing, closest to the ocean, windswept quadrant. These sites are the worst place for a grape grower, but the best ones for a winemaker.
Rancho Salsipuedes, where The Hilt wines make their home, provides vineyards planted on land nearly 13 unobstructed miles from the ocean on the west. This unique, large and sprawling property offers a range of altitudes, aspects, soil types, and microclimates, giving winemaker Matt Dees a patchwork of vineyard parcels from which to select grapes and create wines with distinctive styles.
The Estate wines are defined by the fruit and flavors of our little southwestern corner of the Sta. Rita Hills. They speak of the nuances and complexities of our property as a whole. These wines take into account the many aspects, clones, soil types, and other properties of our estate. They give us the maximum amount of blending components and, represent the most complete wines in our portfolio.
"Beautiful and disarmingly pure expression of fresh red raspberry. Black cherry, black tea, black pepper, and orange blossom. Wonderfully evocative and seamlessly changing between dazzling lifted fruit, deeply earthy notes, enticing toasty qualities and a deft touch of savory stem-inclusion. A precise display of the generosity of fruit from the 2019 vintage. Plush and silky, yet also undeniably coiled and powerful. Perfectly encapsulates the sunshine from 2019 alongside the always vibrant, tense, and focused nature of our rugged and windblown estate vineyards. Great balance between the darkness of Radian and the generosity of Bentrock vineyards. One of those rare pinot noirs that will be welcome on the table tonight, but also certainly repay cellar time. 11 months in 10% new French oak, 90% neutral barrels. 3,912 Cases produced." - Matt Dees, Winemaker
"The 2019 Pinot Noir Estate is also terrific and shows the classy, medium-bodied, fresher style favored by this estate. Bright cherry, darker raspberry, flower, and violet notes all define this wonderfully complete, balanced, elegant Pinot Noir. It’s going to keep for at least 7-8 years, and probably over a decade." - 93 points, Jeb Dunnuck
"Hibiscus with oranges, walnuts and white pepper on the nose. Medium-bodied with a solid core of fruit and a fresh, vivid finish. Linear and spicy at the end with cloves and white pepper. Drink or hold." - 93 points, James Suckling
"The 2019 Pinot Noir Estate is a gorgeous introduction to the vintage at The Hilt. Pliant and layered, the 2019 is a very serious wine at this level. Dark red cherry/plum, spice and lavender are all perked up by the wine's brightness. The 2019 is appealing and quite accessible, but it has a good deal of grip, too. Time in the glass brings out its captivating inner perfume. This is very nicely done." - 92 points, Antonio Galloni Vinous
"The Hilt's Estate Pinot, a blend from Radian and Bentrock Vineyards, has it both ways—generosity of fruit with earthy, savoury layers. Loam opens on the nose, immediately followed by hints of rose petal, brambleberry, and mushroom. A burst of bright raspberry on the first sip, edged with orange zest, toggles over to herbal and saline notes, with velvet textures belying plenty of tannin. This one is fresh and elegant." - 93 points, Decantes
Producer: The Hilt
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Sta. Rita Hills
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