Wine Of The Week: The Hilt Estate Chardonnay 2020

North of Napa, California’s Santa Rita Hills produces a decidedly lush Chardonnay.

While still boasting a California area code, the Sta Rita Hills, a small AVA within Santa Barbara County, has a highly specific set of characteristics that make their wines a little different. Settled on the Western end of the Santa Ynez Valley, the AVA is draped with fog in the morning, allowing the grapes to cool and retain freshness following warm California days.

The Hilt’s 2020 Chardonnay is an excellent example of what Sta Rita Hills has to offer. There’s a fattiness through the wine, punctured by an electric acidity. Expect tangy bright apple and pear, lemon curd, nectarines, and honey and a lush salinity striking the wine. A touch of new French oak (34%) adds roundness on the palate to balance out the freshnessThe Hilt Estate Chardonnay, $74

Kate Dingwall is a WSET-trained sommelier and spirits writer. Her work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Eater,, and Food & Wine, and she pours wine at one of Canada’s top restaurants.