Recently we stopped in to the sprawling, picturesque HilliardBruce Estate located between Lompoc and Bueleton California along Hwy 246 in the Sta Rita Hills to check out the latest vintages of this very boutique producer.
We have watched this producer literally from the very beginning. Starting in 2004 John Hilliard and Christine Bruce planted 21 Acres of Vineyards on their 101 Acre estate that is also home to rolling green pastures for their Arabian Horses.
Their wine is made 100% from their SIP Certified estate vineyards of Pinot noir and Chardonnay.
We decided to get down to the terroir of the vineyard and take a closer look at what produces this amazing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. There is 17.5 acres planted of Pinot Noir consisting of clones Calera, Pommard, 115, 667, 777, and 828. The Chardonnay planted consists of approx 3.5 acres and clones 76 and 96. Both varietals combine for an average of 2,420 vines per acre.
Keeping with their sustainability practices, the property is solar powered by 35 Kilowatts of solar panels. Water is from a six acre foot reservoir and compost is made on site.
We entered the vast tasting room of the estate with unimaginable views of regal Arabian horses in pristine pastures surrounded by the Vineyards of this state of the art Estate.
2010 Hilliard Bruce Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills.
Straight from the 3.4 acre Estate Chardonnay vineyard, our very first impression that came to mind is white burgundy. In the glass this straw colored, medium bodied wine led us to a very complex nose of mineral, slate and citrus. On the Palate, mineral, grapefruit and some earth notes combine for a long elegant finish. This very lovely Chardonnay is aged 100% French oak, 30% new, barrel fermented with Montrachet yeast, full malolactic fermentation and aged on the lees for 16 months with battonage techniques. With only 175 cases produced, this Chardonnay is a must for your cellar and drinkable any time of year.
2010 Hilliard Bruce Vineyards Pinot Noir Sun Santa Rita Hills
We were interested to take a look at the 2010 Vintage of the SUN Pinot Noir even though it is younger than we usually would taste. In the glass, the classic burgundy color sparked in the afternoon sun with this medium bodied Pinot Noir. On the nose, expected aromas of Cherry and spice combine with the signature light smoke of the Sta Rita Hills terroir. On the palate , intense Cherry , Red Fruit and spice jump out with crisp , bright flavors and linger for a long finish and soft mouth feel that was impressive for a young wine. Aged in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new and aged on the lees 16 months. This lovely Pinot Noir has a 600 case production and from what we tasted in the 2010 Vintage will be even more of a star as it progresses in age.
2010 Hilliard Bruce Vineyards Pinot Noir Moon Santa Rita Hills
This Pinot Noir from their Moon Vineyard is truly special. Each vine only bears 1.5 pounds of fruit and the clusters are so small they can fit in closed fist. Now that’s what we call intense! In the glass this Pinot Noir showed deep burgundy color giving way to a deep red rose color near the glass rim and medium bodied. On the nose, dark red fruit, red flowers, cherry and spice are predominant. On the Palate, elegant red cherry, all-spice, light smoke and earth notes show off a very classic Pinot Noir and a signature of the Sta. Rita Hills. It is well known that Pinot Noir more than most varietals shows its sense of place. Aged in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new, aged on the lees 16 months , The 2010 HilliardBruce Moon Pinot Noir with only 195 cases produced shows classic Pinot Noir notes with its signature sense of place in the Sta Rita Hills on the HilliardBruce Estate.
It is hard to realize that the HilliardBruce Estate Vineyards were only planted in 2004 with the quality of wines being produced over the last 3-4 years. HilliardBruce Estate wines have been getting a lot of attention and highly rated and we can see why.
A Sustainable vineyard , high standards , located in one of the world’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay regions bring the best together at one Estate in the Sta Rita Hills for quality wines that will continue to garner world wide acclaim. For more information on HilliardBruce Estate Wines visit http://www.hilliardbruce.com