Solomon Hills vineyard was planted to Chardonnay and
Pinot Noir in 1999 by the Miller family—the owners of Bien Nacido. It is on the
cool western edge of the Santa Maria Valley appellation and consistently
produces fascinating wines. The family got the idea to plant a tiny ½ acre plot
of Syrah, a late ripening varietal, to see if it could work in this cool spot.
Somehow they had the idea that I (Adam Tolmach) might want to work with it and
of course I was intrigued. The first crop was in 2008 and it managed to get
fully ripe and was (is) a delicious wine. However, in 2009 and 2010 the vines
struggled to mature their crop and we were forced to harvest at sugar levels
lower than we usually do. To my great surprise the wines turned out
spectacularly, they both are a radical departure from what one expects from
California Syrah. Much more in tune with the Syrah based wines from France’s
northern Rhone, these Solomon Hills Syrahs possess an earthy, peppery quality
that is just sublime.