The Hilt Old Guard Chardonnay 2016
The Hilt Old Guard Chardonnay 2016, is the first white bottling from this site. The wine was raised in French oak, about half new, with a small portion in stainless steel barrels. It’s flaxen-hued, shiny, and its fragrance suggests citrus peels and lemon thyme. Silky and suave. Supple and light on its feet while also displaying a sumptuous level of fresh white peach. Seamless. Apricot, honeysuckle and a hint of tropical fruit. Charged with a lovely flint reduction and just a touch of savory oak. Makes ones mouth water just to smell as the nose even hints at the freshness and vibrancy in the glass. Weaves a captivating web between acid, fruit and mineral. Definition of liquid sunshine.
The 2016 Chardonnay Old Guard comes from the oldest vines of the estate and is brought up all in older oak. It offers an almost Alsatian Riesling-like minerality and green citrus streak, with more orchard fruits, white flowers, and classic salinity coming through with time in the glass. Deep, rich, and beautifully textured on the palate, it has vibrant acidity, plenty of density and mid-palate oomph, and a great finish. It too will keep for a decade or more, and I suspect it will be even better with a year or two in bottle.
The Hilt is defined by its three maritime influenced vineyards in the southwest corner of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation: Radian, Bentrock and Puerta del Mar. Wines defined by place, style and time. In the southwest corner of Sta. Rita Hills AVA lies a rugged, windswept, coastal vineyard, called The Hilt Estate; estate grower producer of stunning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reflective of this dynamic corner of California. Pushing the limits; in the farthest southwest reach of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA is home to Radian & Bentrock Vineyards, these vineyards dictate The Hilt style. The numerous microclimates and unique soils provide a multilayered backdrop to create 3 unique expressions: Estate, The Guards, and Single Vineyards. In 2014, Matt Dees, Ruben Solorzano & team took on operation and farming of Radian and Bentrock Vineyards and shifted to precise sustainable & organic farming to transform and revitalize the soil.
The Estate wines are defined by the fruit and flavors of our little southwestern corner of the Sta. Rita Hills. They speak of the nuances and complexities of our properties as a whole. These wines take into account the many aspects, clones, soil types, and other properties of our estate. They give us the maximum amount of blending components and represent the most complete wines in our portfolio.