Solomon Hills Estate
2016 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Solomon Hills Vineyard
California: Santa Barbara County: Santa Maria Valley
The Legend of Zorro
“In Santa Maria Valley readers will find extraordinary Pinot Noirs… top vineyards sites include Solomon Hills …at their best, Santa Maria wines easily compete with the very finest anywhere in the United States.” - Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
In the United States?? Make that the WORLD! Yes, even some of the most hallowed Burgundy Crus fall short of this stunning Solomon Hills Pinot made by THE one and only Bien Nacido Vineyards crew. The 2016 vintage earned serious praise - 96 points from Tasting Panel and 94 points from both Jeb Dunnuck and Wine Enthusiast. And somehow, we scored a small allotment for an unprecedented 55% OFF!! This might be our greatest Pinot triumph this year!
Hardcore Pinot fans know Bien Nacido very well. The famous vineyard, labeled a “Top Grand Cru” and “Vineyard of the Year” and “Top 25 Vineyard of the World” owned by the Miller family is ground zero for so many high scoring, ultra-expressive, world class Pinots. How does the Miller family follow up such a massive success? They target a new vineyard with equal, maybe better potential. Enter Solomon Hills, a cool climate vineyard on the westernmost edge of Santa Maria Valley, just miles from the Pacific. They planted it in the late 90s and shortly after a who’s who of Central Coast winemaking lined up to secure their plots. Big names like Paul Lato, Tantara, The Ojai Vineyard, Flying Goat, and Foxen began turning out their own high scoring, high priced Pinots.
So, when the Miller family decides to bring their own Solomon Hills wines into the fold, you know they’re picking the absolute choicest blocks and deploying their world class winemaking team to make something incredible. And wow…mission accomplished! Staggeringly complex, and really quite unlike any Pinot we’ve sold this year. California style meats Burgundian complexity. You know it’s special the moment the aromas hit - meaty, gamy, and showing a “roasted boar” note as one review said, alongside roasted fennel and cinnamon. That carries to the palate where a DEEP core of red cherry and strawberry and extraordinarily complex layers of turned earth, cured meat, forest floor, black tea, iron dust, and baking spices. Truly head-spinning, intellectual stuff!
The PURITY. Class. Depth. Opulence. It’s ALL on full display here and these Pinots flirt with perfection. For the price there’s nothing even remotely close. NOTHING. We urge you to make your move now because we did not get enough of this one.
Just LOOK at all these rave reviews and did we mention THAT price?!!
It’ll go fast!
96 Points – The Tasting Panel
“Intriguing aromas of strawberry and rhubarb just pulled from the soil and washed in brown sugar emerge vividly. On the palate, deep flavors of umami and mushroom join a green-tobacco quality. The mouthfeel is billowy, with velvety, refined tannins. Sandalwood and sassafras punctuate an Old World acidity.”
94 Points – Jeb Dunnuck
“The 2016 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills is a bigger, richer wine, offering loads of meaty red and black fruits, damp earth, underbrush, and bloody, meaty notes. Solomon Hills normally leads with its fruit, but this is distinctly gamey and wild. Medium-bodied, rounded, and textured on the palate, it gains fruit with time in the glass and has notable complexity, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It’s another terrific wine from winemaker Trey Fletcher. Drink 2019-2029.”
94 Points – Wine Enthusiast
“ Dried meat aromas make for a very gamy entry to this bottling, which also shows mulberry and new leather on the nose. The palate is loaded with savory elements, ranging from dried plum and mulberry to roasted boar, turned earth and wild mints.”
Limpid garnet turning crimson with bright cherry red higlights
Fruity, meaty, gamy, and showing a “roasted boar” note as one review said, alongside roasted fennel and cinnamon
Red cherry, strawberry, complex layers of turned earth, cured meat, forest floor, black tea, iron dust, and baking spices
California style meats Burgundian complexity, long and hauntingly deep
Truly head-spinning, intellectual stuff, begging for the best cut of salmon possible, smoasted to perfection
What the Winery Says
- Anthony Avila
- Vineyard manager
- Chris Hammell
- 100% Pinot Noir
- Pommard, 115, 667
- Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County
- Solomon Hills Estate Vineyard
- Vine age
- Planted in 1999
- 2 tons/acre
- 16 months
- 33% new French oak from Cadus
- 7 barrels made