Stan Kroenke, owner of Screaming Eagle (etal) loves Santa Ynez and The Santa Rita Hills where he created Jonata and The Hilt. Initially Andy Erickson who was the long time winemaker at Screaming Eagle was in charge, eventually turning over the reigns to Matt Dees. Today Matt has totally transformed both wineries and it shows in the final product (and great press)
The Hilt 2015 Chardonnay “Vanguard”, Santa Rita Hills
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Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “The 2015 Chardonnay Vanguard comes from slightly younger vines and sees more new oak (although it still seems mostly neutral barrels). This light to medium gold colored Chardonnay offers terrific notes of citrus, under ripe pineapple, salty minerality and white flowers. It’s concentrated and textured, yet racy and vibrant, with bright acidity. It really needs 5-6 years of bottle age and is going to have two decades of longevity.”
Vinous 95 Points: “The 2015 Chardonnay Vanguard is powerful, dense and voluptuous, with all of the raciness of the vintage on full display. Apricot, honey, chamomile, dried flowers, new oak and hint of butter add notable flavor complexity. Viscous and oily on the palate, but in the midweight style that is typical of these wines, the Vanguard is just as impressive from bottle as it was last year from barrel.”
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