The Hilt wines are inspired by a single place: Rancho Salsipuedes in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and its distinctive vineyards, Bentrock, Radian and Puerta del Mar. The Old Guard - Wild, Tense an Energetic Blocks high up on the ridgelines, where soils are composed primarily of diatomaceous earth and the whipping winds give us grapes, and ultimately wines, that are complex, energetic, taut, and firmly structured. These are the blocks used to craft The Old Guard.
Baking spice, dough and luscious notes of ripe tropical fruit. Pineapple and guava and passion fruit. Classic Hilt notes of lemon curd, fresh-pressed olive oil and a perfumed white flowers. Sourced from sun-drenched and slightly warmer sites planted with Dijon clones and fermented in neutral French oak barrels to focus on the natural volume and weight of the fruit. Wonderful fruit richness and purity through the finish. Big push of fruit, swept away gracefully by salty and electric acidity. Nothing to add or take away. Simultaneously mouthwatering and refreshing. Expansive and generous on the palate, then crystalizes into salinity, vibrant freshness and mouthwatering acidity. Such a thrill! Expands and contracts as a living and breathing wine.
94 points Vinous
The 2014 Chardonnay Old Guard is the most relaxed and open of these wines. Orchard fruit and sweet floral notes are front and center, but it is the wine's crystalline purity and overall finesse that stand out most. In 2014, the Old Guard is pure class and pedigree. Vineyard sites are Sanford & Benedict, Solomon Hills and Radian.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Sporting a slightly lighter color than the Vanguard release, the 2014 Chardonnay Old Guard has that raw Chardonnay fruit profile of lemon curd, apple blossom, citrus and hints of crushed rock. Medium-bodied, lively and bracing on the palate, with bright acidity, it's a downright classy and elegant chardonnay that should be better in another 2-4 years and have 10-15 years of evolution. This cuvee comes from the Sanford & Benedict, Radian and Solomon Hills vineyards.