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The wines of Hilliard Bruce

What happens when two master gardeners, equestrians’ artists and wine lovers buy a 101-acre ranch in California’s central coast? An incredible solar powered working farm that features lush gardens, 20 Arabian horses, award winning wines and an affinity for the land and its preservation.
John Hilliard and Christine Bruce brought their love of art, horses, gardening and the wines of Burgundy to Lompoc, California in the Santa Rita Hills AVA. Not looking to be just wine makers, they want to make their ranch a living-breathing place that works in harmony with the land. Horses provide manure, leftover products from their fruits and vegetables go into compost, using recycled plastic to filter water from their own on-site reservoir and using sustainable farming practices that go beyond organic and instead preserve the earth naturally the way it has been done for centuries. Roses are planted at ends of vines to detect any diseased that may affect the vines. Also, each vine has it’s own water monitor to make sure they receive just the right amount of irrigation. This information is sent directly to John’s I Phone, insuring water preservation. Technology and old fashioned farming working together.
Being lovers of Burgundy, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the only grapes planted in their vineyards. Hilliard Bruce produces a Chardonnay, three different Pinot Noirs and in years with extra grapes a rosé.
The 2011 Hilliard Bruce Chardonnay is lean and well structured. Christine Bruce has crafted a California Chardonnay that balances fruit with crisp acidity with hints of oak. That balance between fruit and acidity makes this wine extremely food friendly. The Chardonnay vines are planted in the coldest area of the vineyard allowing the grapes to ripen gradually allowing the sugars to develop without losing acidity.
When it comes to their Pinot Noirs they have a unique perspective. Instead of breaking down wines by single vineyards, they pick grapes at different times and ripeness levels to craft special wines. Showing respect for the element need to produce great wines the names of their different Pinots are Earth, Sky, and Sun. In special years they also produce a Pinot Noir Moon.
Hilliard Bruce, Earth, Pinot Noir, 2011 used the grapes picked the earliest. With the grapes close to full ripening allows the terroir of the region to shine through. Elegant and not overpowering make this wine a testimonial of how careful vineyard management with minimal tampering with the land can make flavorful wines. The fruit shines though without being a “fruit bomb” and balance between fruit and acidity can be achieved in a California Pinot Noir.
The second picking of grapes are used to make Hilliard Bruce, Sky, Pinot Noir, 2011. This wine has the perfect balance with fruit and acidity. Tart fruit is balanced with crisp acidity creating layers of flavors and textures to emerge with each sip. Aged for 18 months in French oak, with 50% being new oak brings subtle notes of baking spices and toast to linger in the background.
Hilliard Bruce, Sun, Pinot Noir, 2011 appropriately named for the grapes picked last and allowed to ripen longer with the suns help. Fuller bodied than its younger siblings, the fruit forward start to this wine delivers a rich mouth feel and silky tannins.
Using practical and sustainable farming techniques, John Hilliard and Christine Bruce are proving that high quality wines can be made without too manipulation during the fermentation process. Letting the earth, sun and sky work in harmony to let the vines produce the highest quality grapes to produce the highest quality wines.