Vineyard: Solomon Hills

AppellationSanta Maria Valley
VarietiesChardonnay, Pinot Noir

Reviewed wines produced from this vineyard

2012 Ryan Cochrane Wines Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 143 cases, $43. 50% clone 115, 50% Pommard 5. 30% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 10 months in 1 new and 5 neutral French oak barrels. Ryan Cochrane trained under Roger Nicolas of RN Estate for four years before launching his own label. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Upon opening, the shy nose offers aromas of cherry, raspberry and sandalwood. Over time in the glass, more oak-driven notes emerge including coffee. Light to mid weight array of red fruit flavors including strawberry and cherry with a shadow of oak in the background. Charming and elegant with juicy acidity and balanced tannins. Tasted twice. Score: 88. Reviewed March 29, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Paul Lato “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 175 cases, $70. 50% 115, 30% 667, 20% 777. 70% new French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Always one of my favorite Paul Lato Pinot Noirs and this vintage is no exception. The nose is quite shy, but aromas of black cherries and spice emerge with coaxing. The plush and creamy palate features intensely flavored blueberries and dark stone fruits wrapped in modest tannins. A sexy, wondrous wine that finishes with uncommon length and generosity and mouthwatering acidity. The wine shows amazing fortitude so soon after bottling. Score: 94. Reviewed September 29, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Paul Lato “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 150 cases, $70. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is brooding initially, opening over time to reveal very appealing aromas of spiced berry cake, forest floor and cedary oak. Moderately rich core of dark cherry, berry and plum flavors with a hint of oak vanillin. Think sweet blackberries with fresh cream. Gathers intensity and interest over time in the glass, reaching a state of flamboyance that is striking. Seamless, with well-managed fine grain tannins and integrated acidity. Finishes long and scented. Tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was even better, continuing to pump out the pleasure at a welcome pace. My favorite by a hair among the five wines reviewed here. Reviewed October 2, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Flying Goat Goat Bubbles Santa Maria Valley Sparkling Brut Rosé

12.7% alc., pH 3.09, no RS, 240 cases, $32. Released December 2010. Whole cluster pressed, and vinified as if to be a still rosé. After 8 months of aging in neutral French Oak barrels, the wine was decanted into sparkling wine bottles, a tirage of sugar and yeast added and a crown cap applied. Secondary fermentation continued in the bottle. The wine was disgorged after 5 months of aging and riddling. · Attractive pink coral color in the glass. Aromatically pleasing scents of strawberries, roses and a hint of yeast. Crisp, bright and dry, with flavors of red berries (cranberries, strawberries), melon and a hint of vanilla. A thoroughly enjoyable sparkling wine and unique in its origins. Very Good. Reviewed August 13, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Suerte” Solomon Hills Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 200 cases, $65. Paul has sourced this vineyard since 2005 and has gradually upgraded his sections to obtain the best parcels. His vines are stunted and only yield a little over 1 ton per acre. Clones 115, 667 and a tiny amount of 777 (“777 is like garlic, you can only use a little”). Aged in 70% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark color in the glass. Heavenly scent of fresh plums and blackberries echoed on the palate. Earthy and savory too, with plenty of Santa Maria spice. Smooth as a baby’s bottom with gossamer tannins. Hard to believe this wine is already so good to drink. Reviewed March 13, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Paul Lato Wines “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

From a block at the top of the vineyard planted to clones 115 and 667. Solomon Hills is the most westerly vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley and is clearly visible to travelers on Highway 101. “Suerte” means luck and Paul chose this name because he had suffered a string of accidents and survived without significant injury. This wine seemed to bring him luck. · Darker fruited, nicely spiced with plenty of structural power, noticeable oak, soft tannins and a tangy finish that lasts and lasts. Reviewed May 7, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Tantara Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.40, 387 cases, $48. From a 97-acre vineyard located 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean with a strong maritime influence. Clones are Dijon 777, 667, 115, 2A, and Pommard 5 planted in 1999. 80% destemmed with 20% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Opens slowly in the glass, seducing you gradually. Enticing aromas of dark cherries with a hint of dark chocolate and spice. Amazingly persistent on the palate and through the lengthy finish. The flavors of plum and black cherry are intense and vivid, yet the wine retains a charming, silky finesse. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Angelina Jolie in dark red velvet. Reviewed March 2, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Paul Lato “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

$65. Barrel sample. Clones 115, 667 and 777. · Appealing scents of spiced dark fruits and wet leaves. Moderately rich essence of blue and black fruits with a spicy, earthy underpinning. Impressive persistence on the generous finish. The tannins are well proportioned. Still very young but superb potential. Very good (+). Reviewed March 11, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Paul Lato “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley PInot Noir

14.8% alc., 175 cases, $65. Clones 115, 667 and 777. Unfiltered. · Alluring aromas of nicely spiced cherries and strawberries echoed on the palate with an appealing earth, savory herb and oak undertone. Soft and smooth, with supple, grainy tannins and a refreshing juiciness on the finish. Very good. Reviewed January 27, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Kenneth Volk Vineyards Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. Clones 2A, Pommard, 23. · Deeply colored. Plenty of hi-tone blackberry and black cherry fruit on the nose. A muscular wine with thick dark fruit, almost inky in style. Plenty of tannin to shed. For fans of big-boned Pinot. Good. Reviewed March 11, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Landmark Solomon Hills Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 120 cases, $55. This barrel select blend consists of 67% Pommard clone and 33% Dijon 777 clone. A small percentage of whole cluster fruit was used. Aged in new and one-year-old French oak for 16 months (6 months longer than other Landmark reserve-styled Pinot Noirs). · Appealing nose of changing themes including dark red cherries and berries, spices including cardamon, and floral scents. Richly layered with spiced dark stone fruits exhibiting a lovely Pinot sweetness and a slight smoky edge. Sturdy on the palate with a soft and satiny texture and healthy tannins that need time to resolve. Satisfying now, but will improve with another 6 to 12 months in bottle. Reviewed July 9, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Paul Lato Wines “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 150 cases, $68. · Sensual perfume of fresh crushed raspberries and blackberries with the slightest hint of oak. Gorgeous fruit accented with musk and cola and framed harmoniously by soft tannins and a spark of acidity. Pinot my paramour. Reviewed May 7, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Ambullneo Solomon Hills Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

13.4% alc., 100 cases. 100% oak fermentation, 80% MLF. There are two other Chardonnays and all three of the Chardonnays are made differently. Fang Blanc (340 cases) has less oak than the Solomon Hills with more acidity. Big Paw (340 cases) is fermented in more stainless steel and neutral oak, again with more acidity than the Solomon Hills. The last two will be better with foods like shellfish, the Solomon Hills preferable on its own or with cream sauces. · Impressive for its perfect integration of oak and lively acidity. Butter aromas and flavors are only hinted at making it a very sexy drink. Reviewed March 3, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Paul Lato “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $60. The Solomon Hills Vineyard is owned and farmed by the Miller family under the direction of vineyardist Greg Phelan. Paul proudly states on the back label, “For those who walk the walk.” · The aromas draw you in as you merrily sniff away. Crushed strawberries, spice, and even fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies waft from the glass. Great sweetness of red fruit highlighted by baking spices and brown sugar. The finish is long and tangy and the balance is spot on. Reviewed July 19, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Ambullneo Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

$95. This wine was bottled as a separate vineyard designate because of the stellar fruit in this vintage. There is more clone 667 and 777 in this wine. · Dark in color, this wine leads off with a nose of dark Pinot fruits with a hint of oak. On the attack it is rich and earthy, with plentiful black cherries, plums, and herbs. There is considerable potential here but time is need for integration. Reviewed March 3, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 The Ojai Vineyard Solomon Hills Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $40. · Complex assortment of aromas including Satsuma plum, spearmint, pepper, stem and oak. Fruit-driven with prodigious linear black cherry and plum flavors with delicate oak and citrus in the background playing off the fruit. Reviewed January 1, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Vino V Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 112 cases, $45. 18 months in barrel (20% new). · The aromas are a little funky and earthy with notes of wild red berries, black cherry, hay, and oak. Soft red fruit and green tea flavors finish with tangy raspberry notes. Alcohol peaks out on the nose and finish. Reviewed February 18, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 J. Wilkes Solomon Hills Vineyard Block 3 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 350 cases, $38. · This Pinot sports a pretty dark garnet robe. The deep, darkly fruited nose leads to luscious flavors of blackberries, mushrooms and mocha. The mouth feel is rich yet silky. This is a winner that really shines with air time. Really great with cheese that blunts the racy acidity. Reviewed May 1, 2006 WINERY »

2003 Row Eleven Wine Company Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 1,200 cases, $30. Predominantly Pommard clone from the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills vineyards in Santa Maria Valley. Aged in primarily 3 to 5-year-old Remond and Francois Fréres oak barrels. · The nose is thick with rich oak and pepper. There is a decent core of dark cherries, but again toasted oak takes center stage. The mouth feel is full and opulent. The finish is slightly astringent with vibrant acidity. The heavy oak influence is surprising given there was little new oak in the élevage. Match with grilled fish and meats. Reviewed April 6, 2006 WINERY »

2003 Row Eleven Wine Company Solomon Hills Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

144 cases, $39. One of the five top wines at the 2006 Pinot Noir Shootout. · Burly nose with plenty of toasted oak. A Caliesque style with plenty of oak flavor and substantial oak tannins. The finish is long and a touch vegetal. Obviously this wine has fans but it is not for me. Reviewed April 6, 2006 WINERY »