2014 Hilt Pinot Noir Vanguard
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
On Sale $53.94 (reg. $64.94)
When Stan Kroenke of Screaming Eagle headed down to Santa Barbara to start The Hilt, the buzz was predictably all about his connection the legendary cult Cabernet, but a few years down the line and the real story is the incredible success of Hilt winemaker Matt Dees. According to Galloni, Dees is “making some of the most compelling Pinots and Chardonnays in California” and the 2014s are “an absolutely stellar set of wines” as well as among “the finest 2014 Santa Barbara Pinots.” This ‘Vanguard’ Pinot Noir from The Hilt is sourced from one of the area’s best vineyards, Sanford & Benedict, and it’s so delicious you’ll want to stock up by the case!
Made entirely from the Mt Eden clone, the dash of whole cluster and 45% new French oak gives the Vanguard gloriously Burgundian layers of spice, flowers, earth, and fruit. The Wine Advocate has praised Matt Dees for making “incredible, laser-focused and age-worthy wines.” Also recognized for his work at the premium Jonata label, Dees is known for making well balanced Pinot and Chardonnay from the region’s best vineyards, and his ‘Vanguard’ Pinot is a terrific example of his style.
2014 was a “classic, charming California vintage” (Jeb Dunnuck) for the Santa Barbara region, and while the ‘Vanguard’ will drink well today, it can surprise you by how well it will evolve over the next 5-10 years. Cheers!