The Solomon Hills Chardonnay comes from the westernmost vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley AVA, where the ocean influence is strongest, and the marine sand gives complex, multi-layered Chardonnays that sometimes remind me of Grand Cru Chablis.
In the glass, discreet aromas of white flowers, seashells, and lemongrass gradually give way to cool orchard fruit, including Bosc pears and Arlet apples, along with a fleeting suggestion of hazelnuts and fresh brioche. On the palate, the wine has a delicious, mouth-watering lean texture, and a solid, chalky core of mineral-infused Chardonnay flavors.
About this wine producer: The key to Ojai is that Adam Tolmach knows every row in every consequential vineyard in Santa Barbara County, and that he purchases his grapes by the acre, rather than by the ton. In some vintages, that can cost more than twice as much. But it gives him direct control of the vineyard work, and by extension, of the quality of the grapes he buys. In the winery, Adam prefers to intervene as little as possible, allowing each vineyard to express its unique character with detail and clarity. All of which has conferred a sort of cult status on The Ojai Vineyard (when it’s not flying under the radar because of its strictly limited distribution, or because of Adam’s modest, self-effacing personality).