While most know of Stan Kroenke as the proprietor of Screaming Eagle, he also owns The Hilt, a great winery down in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA located in Santa Barbara County. The Hilt is dedicated to producing expressive, terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. All their wines come from their estate vineyards and for this 2017 Pinot Noir, comes from Bentrock, Radian and Sanford & Benedict Vineyards. The unobstructed, ocean facing east-west valley known as Sta. Rita Hills Valley is a complex AVA. One could divide it into four quadrants: northern-facing, southern-facing, close to the ocean, and further inland from the ocean. With such a frame, The Hilt’s favorite vineyards are in the northern-facing, closest to the ocean, windswept quadrant. These sites are the worst place for a grape grower, but the best ones for a winemaker. This 2017 offers lifted aromas of rose petals, black cherry, dried tobacco, blood orange, sage, pomegranate and cracked white pepper. On the palate, you’ll taste notes of bright and savory red fruit with salinity, fresh herbs and focus. It is “ultimately a wine defined by elegance and precision. It is the balanced and complete sum of the best parts of our estate vineyards in one bottle.” – Matt Dees, winemaker.