2016 The Paring (The Hilt) Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1416647 93 points Wine Enthusiast

 This bottling by Matt Dees of Jonata and The Hilt fame is a great way to see what he's up to for a very affordable price. Aromas of dark red cherry and cranberry meet with dried tarragon on the nose. The palate's clean lines of black raspberry and wild cherry pick up soil-driven flavors of crushed gravel and a hint of sandalwood. *Editors' Choice* (MK)  (6/2019)

91 points Jeb Dunnuck

 From declassified The Hilt lots and raised in a mix of new and neutral oak, the 2016 Pinot Noir is a deeply colored effort that has subtle oak as well as rich notes of black cherries, black raspberries, toasted spice, and graphite. With medium to full-bodied richness, a layered, concentrated profile, and plenty of length, it needs a year or so to absorb some of this oak but is still a beautiful wine that readers should snatch up. Drink through 2026.  (10/2018)

K&L Notes

Offering immediate drinking pleasure (without sacrificing the complexity and nuance that makes this grape so compelling), this is a wine brimming with seductive fruit, alluring aromas, and supple tannins. The consummate overachiever. Winery note: "Completely seductive wine. Nose of blackberries and rosemary. Succulent and sweet red fruit. Savory notes and mouth coating tannins round out this harmonious and complete pinot noir. Offering immediate drinking pleasure without sacrificing the complexity and nuance that makes this grape so compelling. A wine brimming with seductive fruit, alluring aromas and supple tannins. The consummate overachiever." *Unfined & unfiltered*

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Price: $24.95

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By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/31/2019 | Send Email
If you're looking for an under the radar label that delivers killer value at a modest price point look no further than The Paring. This label is essentially de-classified wine from Jonata / The Hilt...two brands under the same ownership as Screaming Eagle in Napa! "Jonata" is a stunning single estate in Ballard Canyon with wines achieving 100 point perfection from top critics. Sister label "The Hilt,"is focused on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sta. Rita Hills. Again the wines have been achieving massive scores with fruit from some of the best vineyards in the region. 2016 The Paring Pinot Noir is entirely fruit from Radian, Bentrock and Sanford & Benedict...all vineyards typically reserved for high-end ($50-$75) single vineyard designate bottlings. However Winemaker, Matt Dees, is such a perfectionist he declassifies fruit that others most certainly would not! Hence why we at K&L think this bottle is one of the best values out there.

By: Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/28/2019 | Send Email
The nose offers cherry, fresh plum, and wet stone. It's just a little floral and a little earthy. The palate tastes of dark mixed berries and is interestingly flinty and mineral. The tannins offer great structure leading into the finish that slowly unfolds gentle roasty smoke flavors.

Additional Information:


Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.2