2020 Hilt "Estate" Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California, USA



A joyous version of The Hilt Estate Pinot Noir. Expressive red fruit and cooling herbs. Plush attack with mineral-laden character. Cherry, hibiscus, cranberry and blood orange. Pine forest and chanterelle. Brilliantly fresh with a lovely balance between savory herbal notes and hedonistic red fruit. Vibrant acidity. Dried strawberry and cocoa powder. Succulent and delicious offering today. Persistent with such lovely and expansive depth. Highlights the ripe fruit of the vintage balanced alongside the charms of the cool climate of our wind-blown, ocean-influenced vineyards.


From the same proprietors as Jonata, The Hilt was founded in 2008 as a separate winery focusing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley. In 2014, the Rancho Salsipuedes estate was purchased and a new, permanent home for The Hilt was founded. Outside of Salsipuedes, The Hilt also sources old-vine fruit from the marled soils of Sanford and Benedict and the loamy sandy soils of Solomon Hills in the Santa Maria Valley.

Winemaker Matt Dees is very much in charge of the entire process, from vine to bottle. He's passionate about the rugged terrains and an enthusiast of the art of blending. As of 2014, he abolished the use of herbicides and pesticides in Rancho Salsipuedes and established his own farming parameters for the vineyards. 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.Diverse though it may be, Salsipuedes possesses some aspects that remain consistent: the land has poor soils that force vines to dig deep; there are powerful, whipping winds and a cold maritime climate that allow grapes on the property to ripen slowly and retain acidity despite the warm daytime sun; and the vines on the property are low in vigor, allowing them to produce low yields of concentrated, complex grapes. It is with these three important components – poor soils, whipping winds and a cool maritime climate along with low vigor vines – that Salsipuedes defines itself in the Sta. Rita Hills.