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3 Delicious Pinots and a Chardonnay from Hilliard Bruce

3 Delicious Pinots and a Chardonnay from Hilliard Bruce


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The Santa Rita Hills area of Santa Barbara County is California’s hottest new region for cold-weather wines — specifically the Burgundian varietals of pinot noir and chardonnay. The area is located along an inland part of the Santa Ynez River, a bit removed from the Pacific’s influence, and is a relatively new AVA or appellation. The "Santa" is officially not spelled out, being abbreviated to "Sta. Rita Hills" in deference to Chile’s large Santa Rita brand, which got there first.

One of the many bright spots in SRH is Hilliard Bruce — the owners are the married couple John Hilliard and Christine Bruce — which makes small volumes of estate-grown chard and pinot from their 21 acres planted 10 years ago. In deference to different clones and parts of their vineyard, Hilliard Bruce produces three or four fancifully named pinot noirs, all quite good.

A quick, but broad over-thought: California pinots — and some from Burgundy — have a tendency to be too ripe and concentrated, which can seem beautiful on first sip but quickly tires the palate. In this way, pinot is not all that different from merlot, which makes the whole Sideways superiority argument so amusing. I have the feeling that Hilliard Bruce recognizes this danger and is trying to avoid the trap, which it mostly does.

The current vintages are:

2011 Hilliard Bruce Sta. Rita Hills chardonnay ($45). Very Burgundian in style, fruity but lean with flavors of apple, apple skins and dried apricots, notes of chalkiness and minerality with pleasant, toasty, not obtrusive barrel notes. Delicioso.

2011 Hilliard Bruce "Sun" Sta. Rita Hills pinot noir ($55). Ripe, rooty and concentrated pinot flavors of cherry and cola. It is the fruitiest of the three and is on the edge of being sappy or syrupy in the finish, though it’s not the least bit heavy. It seemed more balanced when tasting it the second day, and I believe it will be much better a year or two from now. It should have considerable aging potential. My guess is this would be the favorite of those adorable pinot-nuts who like high-profile California pinots. If you want to drink it now, decant it a few hours in advance.

2011 Hilliard Bruce "Sky" Sta. My Pick of the Litter. The more I tasted the three pinots over time, the more this one stood out — tangy flavors, less-concentrated fruit, noticeable and very welcomed tannins, herbal notes; a bit more masculine, seemingly the best-structured, yet “lightest” of the three.

2011 Hilliard Bruce “Earth” Sta. Rita Hills pinot noir ($45). It’s somewhere in the middle in terms of fruit intensity, and is the most savory of the three — light garrigue notes, a little balsamic, a little peppery. Very well-balanced and very approachable.


Hilliard Bruce Vineyards

The proprietors, Christine Bruce and John Hilliard, have a colorful background. Christine worked as a professional keyboardist for various pop bands for 11 years and then founded HB Arabians, a breeding operation for Arabian norses. John managed a successful shipyard business on Brady Island in Houston, Texas. Because of the challenges of successful winegrowing in Texas, they moved to California and together, bought the 101-acre Hilliard Bruce property in 2002.

The estate 21-acre vineyard was planted beginning in 2004 to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The vineyard is located on Highway 246 directly across from Dos Hermanas Vineyard (formerly Ashley's). The vineyard had 15.7 acres of Calera, Pommard, 115, 667, 777 and "828" (later grafted over to Chardonnay), 2,420 vines per acre, and 5.3 acres of Chardonnay (clones 76 and 96). Yields are very low (1lb per vine in 2010). Certified Sustainable by SIP. The vineyard is meticulously farmed by owner John Hilliard and noted viticulturist Jeff Newton.

A new LEED-certified winery was finished in time for harvest 2014. The facility includes an underground cellar, a demonstration kitchen and dining room and a tasting room.

The estate Pinot Noir was first offered in 2008. The owners are well-educated winemakers with John focusing on Pinot Noir and Christine on Chardonnay.The wine is sold primarily online through the website and via a mailing list. Tours and tasting by appointment only.

Articles About Hilliard Bruce Vineyards

Reviewed Wines

2012 Hilliard Bruce Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

600 cases, $45. Clones 76 and 96. Barrel fermented (30% new French oak), full malolactic fermentation. · Light golden straw color in the glass. My favorite Chardonnay tasted at WOPN. Invigorating aromas of lemon-lime, apple and subtle nutty oak lead to a highly flavorful core of white stone fruits, lemon oil and caramel flavors. Slightly creamy, with a lasting finish fueled by mineral-driven acidity. Score: 92-94 . Reviewed April 4, 2015 ARTICLE »

2011 Hilliard Bruce Earth Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.75% alc., 240 cases, $45. Clones “828” and 777. Aged 18 months in 75% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Expressive nose that becomes more appealing over time in the glass. Aromas and flavors of dark red cherries and blueberries with an earthy tone and hints of toasty oak and sassafras. Lightest in weight of the three 2011 Pinot Noirs, but equally flavorful with plenty of bright Sta. Rita Hills acidity in the background. The wine displays impeccable balance and the evolution over time in the glass suggests age ability. Score: 91 . Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Hilliard Bruce Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

14.3% alc., 475 cases, $45. Clones are 76 and 96. Aged 16 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Light golden yellow and clear in the glass. Vibrant aromas of lemon, lime and walnut lead to a discreetly concentrated core of lemon curd, yellow peach and subtle butterscotch flavors. Nice fullness on the palate with a slightly creamy texture, and a long, soprano finish. I like this wine for its restraint and seamless quality. Score: 90 . Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Hilliard Bruce Sky Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.57% alc., 420 cases, $55. Clones include Calera, Pommard, 115, 667 and 777. Aged 18 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The aromas of fresh black raspberry, spice and subtle oak really draw you into the glass. There is plenty of sappy fruit concentration like the Sun, but there is more vibrant acidity and resulting juiciness. The core of darker berry and stone fruits is flatout delicious and very plush on the palate. The finish is strikingly endowed offering waves of bright fruit returning over and over for an encore. This beauty blurs the line between wine and heaven. Score: 94 . Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Hilliard Bruce Sun Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 529 cases, $55. Clones include Calera, Pommard, 115, 667 and 777. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas arrive over time in the glass, offering a blend of boysenberry jam, plum, black grapes and spice. The sappy mid weight core of black cherry and dark berry is strikingly vivid and pure, set off by an appealing earthiness. Everything is in balance with modest tannins and bright acidity. The fruit-driven finish is noticeably long and intense. This is highly enjoyable juice. Score: 92 . Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2010 Hilliard Bruce Sun Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 600 cases, $55. Can’t get Paul Lato Wines? Try Hilliard Bruce where Paul is the consulting winemaker. The wines are not identical to Paul’s but his imprint is evident. Hilliard Bruce planted 21 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on 101 acres starting in 2004. The vineyards are Certified Sustainable and are located off highway 246 near Clos Pepe and directly across 246 from Dos Hermanas Vineyard (formerly Ashley’s). Aged in 50% new French oak barrels for 16 months. · This wine is beautifully composed offering enticing aromas of ripe black cherries, dark berries and cardamom spice, and luscious flavors of the same fruits with added notes of plum, cola and vanilla. Moderately rich with tannins that threaten to take over now but tend to mellow over time in the glass. The silky texture is very seductive. This wine is still a bit closed and will benefit from a few more years in the cellar. Very good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »


Hilliard Bruce Vineyards – Part 1: The People and the Place

We had a trip planned to Santa Barbara to visit wineries and I had tweeted looking for great spots for sunrise shots etc. I had a response from a winery that was not on my radar. Hilliard Bruce tweeted “ If you can, you’ve got to see the canopy management at Hilliard Bruce Vineyards at least once before you die.” And well, when you put it like that, how could we not! So we scheduled a visit with the tweeter, who turned out to be John Hilliard himself.

John Hilliard & Christine Bruce

John Hilliard and Christine Bruce are peaceful, gentle and thoughtful people. They are both certified master gardeners, and perhaps their demeanor comes from this connection with the soil and growth.

Christine is an avid horsewoman and raises Arabian horses on the property. She also has an extensive background in music studying classical piano and then falling in love with contemporary jazz and working as a professional keyboardist after graduating from the Berklee College of Music.

John came from a background in finance and maritime insurance until he decided to take up painting full time. In Houston he was the Director and President of Diverse Works and a panelist for the Cultural Arts Council of Houston. Later he took over his family’s shipyard business. (Talk about diversity!)

They divide their time now between the vineyard in California and their home in Miami where they are still part of the art scene.

It’s a joy to meet them, their dogs Wiglette and Jackson are always with them. And they love to be out on the property. The pride in this place is evident as they show you around.

As they drove us around the vineyard we passed a section where several birds were trapped under the netting. They net over 2 rows, so you can go underneath and still work on the vines. John noticed the birds and we stopped to set them free. Yes I’m sure that this keeps the birds out so that they don’t eat the berries, but John was mostly concerned that the birds were not trapped. The kindness that exudes from John and Christine I am sure makes their wines better.

The Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills

They found this property as they searched for a place to breed Arabian horses and plant a vineyard where they could grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This location idyllic for this. It is located on 101 acres on the Western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, with 21 acres planted with vineyards in 2004. From the top of the vineyard the view is amazing. You can see the ocean to the West, to the North you can see Gypsy Canyon and to the West, Kessler Haak, Clos Pepe, Melville, Babcock Vineyards. They are directly across Rt. 246 from Dos Hermanas Vineyard (previously known as Ashley’s Vineyard).

The soil here is a sandy silk that is very low in organic matter making it extremely fast draining.

They have 17.5 acres of Pinot Noir with Calera, Pommard, 115, 667, 777 and 828 clones. The Chardonnay covers 3.5 acres in 76 and 96 clones, but they are about to plant more Chardonnay.

The property is also a showcase for their love of gardening with 300 date palms, apple trees, an avocado orchard, hundreds of roses and a stunning cut flower garden.

Christine’s vegetable garden is beautiful, a photographers dream. With her love of beauty and art, she admits to sometimes having trouble harvesting in her garden and upsetting the beautiful visual.


Green Dip with Niner Wine Estates Grenache Rose

This is one of my all time favorite holiday recipe memories. My mom made her delicious Green Dip for every winter party. It is a simple, delicious snack to have out when your guests arrive and you will want to make extra to snack on yourself after the party. But, bare in mind that everyone will have a little green in their teeth! Rinse that green away with a nice dry Grenache Rose from Niner Wine Estates. Spinach and Herb Green Dip 2 packages frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed (I use a dish towel) 1. [Read more. ]


Clos Pepe Vineyards

Wes Hagen, manager and winemaker of the twenty-eight acre Clos Pepe Vineyard is a walking encyclopedia of everything “wine.” Simply being around him certainly enhances one’s wine smarts. Owners Stephen and Catherine Pepe grow exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes which are sold to several prominent producers. Wes Hagen also makes small amounts of his own, somewhat restrained, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in concert with the vineyard’s unique voice.


Landmark 2018 Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Chardonnay (Sta. Rita Hills)

You now have FREE access to nearly 300,000 wine, beer and spirit reviews. Cheers!

Candied lemon and honeysuckle aromas pick up a slight dairy edge on the nose of this bottling. There's an earthy streak to the palate, where dried citrus and apple flavors rise in the midpalate. Matt Kettmann

How We Blind Taste

All tastings reported in the Buying Guide are performed blind. Typically, products are tasted in peer-group flights of from 5-8 samples. Reviewers may know general information about a flight to provide context&mdashvintage, variety or appellation&mdashbut never the producer or retail price of any given selection. When possible, products considered flawed or uncustomary are retasted.

Ratings reflect what our editors felt about a particular product. Beyond the rating, we encourage you to read the accompanying tasting note to learn about a product’s special characteristics.


A VISIT TO PASO ROBLES – THREE WINERIES

Dorianne and I did our annual visit to California’s Central Coast Wine Regions this past week. In this post, I will cover the three wineries we visited in the Paso Robles area (LINK TO PRIOR POSTS ON PASO). In another post, I will cover two days in the Santa Rita Hills/Lompoc area.

As we always do, we joined two other couples at the Kon Tiki Inn in Pismo Beach (LINK), a beautifully preserved gem from the 1960’s (no online reservations). This gives us a based to roam from Paso Robles in the North to the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Ynez in the south. We usually cover three wineries per day, have wine and cheese at the Kon Tiki, then go to dinner in one of Pismo Beach’s good restaurants.

Ancient Peaks (LINK): Our drive up toward Paso Robles led us first to Ancient Peaks Winery Tasting Room in Santa Margarita. Ancient Peaks has the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles Eastern AVA, and the tasting room is just off the 101 Freeway. None of us had been there before in fact, all three winery visits were firsts for just about all of us (two people had been to Sextant Winery before).

Ancient Peaks has a nicely arranged tasting room with plenty of space and areas to relax with a glass or two of their wines. There is even a café. We arrived just at the 11:00 am opening time. We tasted five wines – all were nicely crafted and well balanced. These are good wines. We tasted five of the ten wines listed for sale on the Ancient Peaks website. Dorianne and I purchased the 2015 White Label Chardonnay, the 2015 Zinfandel, and the 2014 Oyster Ridge Red Blend. I would say that Ancient Peaks represents what we have found in Paso Robles wines for the last three years – consistently well-crafted wines which are true to their fruit and terroir origins. The staff was professional, friendly, and generally well-informed. One kindly recommended that we visit Clos Solène (and called for the appointment) since we are now living in France – more about them in a bit.

Sextant Winery (LINK): Sextant is located between Templeton and Paso Robles on the west side of the 101 Freeway that divides the area. The vineyards are on rolling hills and the tasting room is elevated on one of these hills. Beautifully appointed, with the nautical theme that runs through all of Sextant’s products, the tasting room and member’s lounge are worth your time to visit. And, happily, the wines (LINK) are very good as well. We were able to taste from their regular and member’s tasting lists during our visit.

The wines are nicely balanced, made to go with food, and easy to drink. I did not have a negative comment about any of them. Of particular note was the 2015 Kamal Cabernet Sauvignon, a beautifully crafted wine with notes of dark fruit, green pepper, and a rich minerality. Definitely a hit. Sextant is worth a visit if you are in Paso Robles, and you can order their wines online.

Clos Solène Winery (LINK): A gem of a small winery, Clos Solène is also on Paso Robles’ West Side, nestled among low hills. Guillaume and Solène Fabre (LINK) are a French couple who grow grapes and make wine here – in the French style. Guillaume stopped by during our tasting for a chat. Production is under 2000 cases total, so these are all limited production (and expensive) wines. We tasted on the outdoor patio (a rare rainfall had just stopped) from their tasting menu (LINK).

The entire list consists of excellent wines. Of particular note is the 2016 Homage Blanc blend of 75% Roussanne and 25% Viognier the 2015 Harmonie red blend of 56% Grenache, 30% Mouvedre, and 14% Syrah and the 2015 Homage a nos Pairs red blend of 95% Syrah, 3% Grenache, and 2% Viognier. As the French would say, these wines are Tres Cher (very costly), but they are beautiful wines – as good as anything I have tasted in Paso Robles. Clos Solène Winery is open by appointment.

Paso Robles never fails to please those in search of new and unique wine experiences – and, increasingly, those in search of excellent wines!

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard


El Lugar 2016 Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)

You now have FREE access to nearly 300,000 wine, beer and spirit reviews. Cheers!

Well-integrated aromas of clove, star anise, cola and suave black cherry show on the nose of this bottling from the southernmost vineyard currently used by winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia. Dark cherry flavors meet with sarsaparilla and cola on the rich, brawny palate. Matt Kettmann

How We Blind Taste

All tastings reported in the Buying Guide are performed blind. Typically, products are tasted in peer-group flights of from 5-8 samples. Reviewers may know general information about a flight to provide context&mdashvintage, variety or appellation&mdashbut never the producer or retail price of any given selection. When possible, products considered flawed or uncustomary are retasted.

Ratings reflect what our editors felt about a particular product. Beyond the rating, we encourage you to read the accompanying tasting note to learn about a product’s special characteristics.


Vineyard: Hilliard Bruce

13.0% alc., pH 3.20, TA 6.75, 189 cases, $30. Harvest Brix 22.0º. Aged in stainless steel for 8 months. · Delicate golden yellow color in the glass. The nose is very becoming, with delicate aromas of lemon oil, apple, grapefruit and a hint of vanilla. Light and ethereal in style, with delightful lemon and pear flavors framed with a bright cut of acidity. Velvety in the mouth with good length on the lemon-lime inspired finish. A charming wine that seems to walk on tip toes. Score: 92 . Reviewed May 11, 2016 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Kitá Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $55. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Seductive aromas of black cherry, spice, rose petal and toast rise from the glass, leading to a lighter weighted wine that is sleek and elegant. Flavors of black cherry, exotic spice, tea and char enliven the palate and carry over to a delicate, but satisfying finish. The soft tannins are well matched, and the wine is very easy to cozy up to. Score: 91 . Reviewed May 11, 2016 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hilliard Bruce Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

600 cases, $45. Clones 76 and 96. Barrel fermented (30% new French oak), full malolactic fermentation. · Light golden straw color in the glass. My favorite Chardonnay tasted at WOPN. Invigorating aromas of lemon-lime, apple and subtle nutty oak lead to a highly flavorful core of white stone fruits, lemon oil and caramel flavors. Slightly creamy, with a lasting finish fueled by mineral-driven acidity. Score: 92-94 . Reviewed April 4, 2015 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Paul Lato “Happiness” Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $70. Unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple color with a garnet rim in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of dark stone and berry fruits. Mid+ weight fruit core of blackberry, black grape and black currant flavors. A bit rustic, beefy and earthy, with modest tannins and some finishing length. The most robust and darkest fruited of the Paul Lato wines tasted on this day. Score: 91 . Reviewed August 25, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Hilliard Bruce Earth Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.75% alc., 240 cases, $45. Clones “828” and 777. Aged 18 months in 75% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Expressive nose that becomes more appealing over time in the glass. Aromas and flavors of dark red cherries and blueberries with an earthy tone and hints of toasty oak and sassafras. Lightest in weight of the three 2011 Pinot Noirs, but equally flavorful with plenty of bright Sta. Rita Hills acidity in the background. The wine displays impeccable balance and the evolution over time in the glass suggests age ability. Score: 91 . Reviewed January 20, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Hilliard Bruce Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

14.3% alc., 475 cases, $45. Clones are 76 and 96. Aged 16 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Light golden yellow and clear in the glass. Vibrant aromas of lemon, lime and walnut lead to a discreetly concentrated core of lemon curd, yellow peach and subtle butterscotch flavors. Nice fullness on the palate with a slightly creamy texture, and a long, soprano finish. I like this wine for its restraint and seamless quality. Score: 90 . Reviewed January 20, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Hilliard Bruce Sky Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.57% alc., 420 cases, $55. Clones include Calera, Pommard, 115, 667 and 777. Aged 18 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The aromas of fresh black raspberry, spice and subtle oak really draw you into the glass. There is plenty of sappy fruit concentration like the Sun, but there is more vibrant acidity and resulting juiciness. The core of darker berry and stone fruits is flatout delicious and very plush on the palate. The finish is strikingly endowed offering waves of bright fruit returning over and over for an encore. This beauty blurs the line between wine and heaven. Score: 94 . Reviewed January 20, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Hilliard Bruce Sun Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 529 cases, $55. Clones include Calera, Pommard, 115, 667 and 777. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas arrive over time in the glass, offering a blend of boysenberry jam, plum, black grapes and spice. The sappy mid weight core of black cherry and dark berry is strikingly vivid and pure, set off by an appealing earthiness. Everything is in balance with modest tannins and bright acidity. The fruit-driven finish is noticeably long and intense. This is highly enjoyable juice. Score: 92 . Reviewed January 20, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Hilliard Bruce Sun Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 600 cases, $55. Can’t get Paul Lato Wines? Try Hilliard Bruce where Paul is the consulting winemaker. The wines are not identical to Paul’s but his imprint is evident. Hilliard Bruce planted 21 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on 101 acres starting in 2004. The vineyards are Certified Sustainable and are located off highway 246 near Clos Pepe and directly across 246 from Dos Hermanas Vineyard (formerly Ashley’s). Aged in 50% new French oak barrels for 16 months. · This wine is beautifully composed offering enticing aromas of ripe black cherries, dark berries and cardamom spice, and luscious flavors of the same fruits with added notes of plum, cola and vanilla. Moderately rich with tannins that threaten to take over now but tend to mellow over time in the glass. The silky texture is very seductive. This wine is still a bit closed and will benefit from a few more years in the cellar. Very good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Paul Lato “Alegria” Hilliard-Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 75 cases, $70. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very expressive nose, offering hi-tone aromas of berry tart, dried rose petals, malt and vanilla. Moderately flush with well-ripened dark red and black berries including ollaliberries, with an accent of new oak and an earthy underbody. Smooth and seamless and quite enticing, although not quite as expressive as the other wines in this vintage. Very good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Algeria” Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 100 cases, unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting bouquet of dried cherry, burnt tobacco, grilling spices and tea leaf. Fruit-driven, with a core of black raspberry and blackberry fruits with subtle accents of spice, herbs, earth and oak. Has more aged tertiary character than the 2008 vintage. Gratuitous texture with good fine-grain tannic bones. Drink now to 2020. Reviewed February 13, 2017 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Dragonette Cellars Hilliard-Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 100 cases, $48. The Hilliard-Bruce Vineyard is located at the western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, one-half mile west of Clos Pepe, and is the first vineyard to be planted in the AVA with close spacing. Planting began in 2005. Clones are 115 and 777. 100% de-stemmed, 7-day cold soak, native and commercial yeast fermentation, aged for 15 months in 25% new French oak barrels, bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Darker cherry and berry fruit is nicely spiced and encased in grainy tannins giving a mouth feel with textural interest. A delicious, seductive wine that is surprisingly well-raised despite the young vines. This meticulously farmed vineyard is fast becoming a superstar in the region. Very good (+). Reviewed March 12, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Alegria” Hilliard-Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 100 cases, $70. This vineyard is located on Hwy 246 4.5 miles west of Zotovich Vineyard and just west of Clos Pepe Vineyard. This is the first close-planted vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills and is managed by noted Central Coast viticulturist Jeff Newton. Owner John Hilliard is fanatical about meticulous farming and this is one of the most manicured vineyards in California. The 21-acre vineyard was planted over three years beginning in 2005 to Dijon clones 115, 667, 777 and 828, Pommard clone, and Calera selection. This wine contains primarily clone 115 with a tiny amount of 667. Paul says the incoming grapes were perfect and didn’t require sorting (“Like a well-kept woman”). Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Demure aromatics showing darker well-spiced cherry, berry and currant fruits with an underpinning of forest floor and underbrush. Earthy and mysterious on the palate with firm ripe tannins, a silky mouth feel, and some persistence on the aromatic finish. A lot to like in this young vines offering. Reviewed March 13, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »



Comments:

  1. Carlos

    Wacker, your phrase is brilliant

  2. Biecaford

    Stupidly set off!

  3. Yigol

    I absolutely agree with you. I think this is a very good idea. I completely agree with you.



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