2017 Ojai Vineyard Chardonnay Solomon Hills Vineyard

Year: 2017
Appellation: Santa Barbara County
Country: USA-California
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 93+
Jeb Dunnuck: 95
Wine Enthusiast: 94
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
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"The 2017 Chardonnay Solomon Hills is scented of hay, almonds, dried acacia, flint and baker's yeast with delicate apple and melon aromas plus a peachy tinge. The palate is medium to full-bodied with intense savory layers, very juicy acidity and a long, savory finish. 281 cases produced." (WA)

"The 2017 Chardonnay Solomon Hills is dense and also surprisingly closed in on itself. Powerful and phenolic in feel, the 2017 is going to need at least a few years to come into its own. The Solomon Hills is by far the most reticent of the Ojai Chardonnays I tasted, and yet the impression is that it will develop into something special in a few years’ time. " (VM)

"From one of my favorite vineyards in Santa Maria, the 2017 Chardonnay Solomon Hills Vineyard is another rich, powerful wine from this team. While slightly closed aromatically, it has plenty of fruit, medium to full body, lots of salty minerality, and a great finish. Beautifully balanced, concentrated, and just straight-up impressive, give bottles a year or two in the cellar." (JD)

"Very bright and refreshing aromas of kaffir lime, lime blossom and lemongrass meet with gravel and strong chalk on the pinpoint nose of this bottling. There is great tactile energy to the sip, where a chalky structure carries lime pith and wet river-stone flavors. It's very Chablis-like in style. -Matt Kettmann" (WE)

Winery Notes:
Solomon Hills is the most coastal vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley, planted on the sandy slopes of ancient dunes just a few miles from the ocean. The soils here are poor, and the typically moist coastal weather in Spring further caps our yields. That, combined with the easier to ripen Dijon clones and the skin thickening abuse from fierce westerly winds, creates a vineyard with all the ingredients necessary to make some grand scaled Chardonnay.

There’s a certain kind of power to Solomon Hills Chardonnay that’s a whole different animal than the power of super ripe and oaky chards. There’s substance and impact, but not in the more typical thickly tropical fruity way. Here there’s thickness with a strong earthy tilt. Solomon Hills shows a land-meets-sea kind of mineral landscape, with a structured and gutsy feel that has it poised to age well.

Salty seashells, pine and blossoms take up center stage now, especially when after just pulling the cork. Some warmth near harvest coaxed out a riper profile, like our other 2017 Chardonnays, but probably least so here. Sweet lemon and juicy apple/pear emerges with some air, but still the wine is taut and earthy. While enchanting on its own, this wine becomes gorgeously complete when paired with creamy chicken dishes or steaky fish like Ventura white seabass.