The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is a small appellation at the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley that has gained national recognition for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The Valley runs west to east permitting the late afternoon ocean fog to roll into the Sta. Rita Hills, where it lingers until early morning. The surrounding hills trap the fog before it is dissipated in the wider Santa Ynez Valley.
In the spring when frost is our biggest concern a layer of fog over the vineyard can provide protection. In the summer the fog moderates the normally warm days of the valley, cooling the grapes at night. Warm days and cool nights are essential for the making of fine Chardonnay.
The grapes, which are picked at night, are pressed as whole clusters, stems and all. The stems create channels for the juice to escape, otherwise the skins would quickly block the openings.
Winemaker Comments: This Chardonnay is from a 34 year old vineyard, self rooted in an old sand and gravel river bed. The low vigor vines and well exposed small berries give the wine a concentrated expression of fruit.
Tasting Notes: The 2016 Hilltop Ranch Chardonnay is pale gold, moving to platinum around the edges of the glass. Distinct aromas of yellow apple, candied pineapple, and vanilla greet the nose. Full flavors of baked apple pie and starfruit are followed by subtle crème brȗlée. Pair this rich, full-bodied white wine with lobster risotto, roasted chicken, or gruyere cheese.
Gold Medal 2019 Los Angeles International Wine Competition- 91 points
2016 Chardonnay - Hilltop Ranch Vineyard
100% Hilltop Ranch Chardonnay
AVA: Sta. Rita Hills
September 21, 2016
Sugar: 24.8 Brix
August 3, 2017
Total Acid: .69
Fermented in 8 barrels, 25% new
100% Barrel Fermented
100% Malolactic Fermentation
'Sur lie' 9 months with regular 'batonnage'
Production: 194 cases
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