The Hilt Estate 2018 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

A pair of wines from Sta. Rita Hills
The Hilt Estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

The Hilt’s 100 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot noir vines lie across a cool southwest corner of Sta. Rita Hills. The plot is divided into two main vineyards, each with different exposures and wind influences. These varied plots give winemaker Matt Dees a palette of flavor profiles to work with when composing each varietal wine.

2018 The Hilt Estate Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills

The Chardonnay, a mix of three clones, ages for 11 months in one-third new French oak and two-thirds natural oak and stainless steel. The fruit must have been picked just ripe and with firm acidity; although the tech sheet offers no pH or TA details, the overall impression is cut-crystalline, almost angular. Its lemony citrus fruit is lean, not fleshy, and the finish is saline. All of this suggests not serving the wine too cold. Warmth will bring forth the fruit, and anyway the wine itself is refreshment enough. Pair it with fresh, lactic cheeses, especially chèvre and the bloomy rinded. It’s also good with briny foods like raw oysters or light sauces with capers or green olives. 

13% abv | $45 (sample)

2018 The Hilt Estate Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills

The Pinot noir is a broader mix of clones, mostly Dijon. It is treated to French oak for 11 months, only eight percent new. This feels like a good choice, because the mostly neutral barrel aging allows the spiciness of the fruit to shine through. The wine’s body is clear raspberry color with a flame pink rim, and it’s supremely redolent of ripe strawberries accented with lavender and orange peel. Firm acidity on the mid-palate and a surprising tannic structure provide a framework for spicy berry fruits. The finish is lean and almost saline. It’s an excellent wine for poultry, salmon, pork, and lightly spiced curries.

13% abv | $45 (sample)

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