New Vintages of a Favorite Santa Barbara Chardonnay and Pinot Noir + 6pk Rosé Bargain!

Offer available through Sunday, 3/10/2024, or as inventory lasts.

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Hi everyone –

Two great offers this week. The first is the return of The Hilt, one of our favorite Santa Barbara producers, who just released their much anticipated 2021’s. The second is a stock up Rosé 6pk for only $72. Let’s get to ’em!

The Hilt: 2021’s have arrived and they are STUNNING!

It’s been about a year since we had access to The Hilt and put it in an offer. We got a phone call from the distributor a few days ago that the much-anticipated 2021s have arrived in the Twin Cities and are ready for you now.

These are two of our FAVORITE wines from Santa Barbara County!

The Hilt is an exceptional property located on the far western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills. From last year’s offer, here’s a little video I made giving you an overview of the wines of Santa Barbara. Check it out!

Santa Barbara 101

What’s unique about 2021 in Santa Barbara?

While most of California experienced a warmer-than-average 2021, Santa Barbara remained cool but sunny. The specific climatic conditions of Santa Barbara wine country are so interesting to us, with bright sunshine and high UV levels but cold air racing through off the Pacific. It makes for a micro-climate like to others and leads to some of the most intriguing Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs made in America today.

From the Vinous website:

The growing season started off cool and remained that way the entire year, with key trackers for vine maturation all delayed relative to what has become the norm.  According to data from several primary rainfall stations from the County of Santa Barbara, precipitation was 8-10 inches for the year, lower than 2020, about half of 2018 or 2019 and well under the historical average of 14-16 inches. Interestingly, rainfall in 2023 already exceeds 30 inches. Summer proceeded along similar themes. There were no heat spikes or other shock events to speak of. Cool-weather during the last phase of ripening allowed for extended hang time. Harvest was on the later side by modern-day standards.

“The season was very easy to deal with. In some years, we have no choice when to pick, but in 2021, we had tons of time to make those decisions,” Adam Tolmach relayed at Ojai. “It was a very dry year, with only nine inches of rain. It was pretty much textbook until September when temperatures dropped,” explained Anthony Avila, winemaker at the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates. Based on similarly positive comments from pretty much all winemakers, I expected to find a consistently strong to exceptional vintage as I began tasting through the wines. 

About The Hilt Estate

We enjoyed visiting The Hilt in February of 2022, on the far western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills. Drew Stapp of The Hilt put us in his big truck, gave us a great tour of the vineyards, and helped me get a geographical perspective on the area.

The vineyards of western Sta. Rita Hills
The newest plantings at The Hilt, on the top of the hills in western Sta. Rita Hills.
Extreme weather here on the western edge of Sta. Rita Hills, just a few miles from the ocean.
Drew Stapp of The Hilt and Jonata

The Hilt 2021 Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills

This may be the most Chablis-like Chardonnay I’ve ever had from California … but in some ways almost better! (Yikes, don’t tell my French friends.)

From Jeb Dunnuck:

It’s, without a doubt, one of the top Chardonnays made today. Under 3000 cases were produced.

The perfect food to have with this wine? Seafood pasta with shrimp, scallops, and garlic! Photo and receipt from Christina’s Cucina: https://www.christinascucina.com/seafood-pasta-with-shrimp-and-scallops-and-garlic/


The Hilt Pinot Noir 2021, Sta. Rita Hills

This is pitch-perfect Pinot Noir in so many ways. It deserves a place at the table for an elegant evening.

From Vinous:

And what to have with it? Santa Maria BBQ!

In Santa Barbara County, “BBQ” is not pork or a rack of ribs. There’s no sticky sauce. Instead, it’s a perfectly grilled and roasted tri-tip steak, cooked over oak and called Santa Maria BBQ. Several restaurants specialize in this, including Hitching Post II (where Sideways was filmed) and our personal favorite, Jocko’s.

Learn more about Santa Maria BBQ here: https://saltandwind.com/santa-maria-bbq-california/

This is not Santa Maria BBQ, but it’s a beautiful picture I took of meat on the grill. Yum.

The terroir of Sta. Rita Hills: learn from the expert

We were super lucky on our trip in 2022 to spend some time with geologist, podcaster, and artist Brenna Quigly, the creator of the fantastic Roadside Terroir podcast. Season one, episode two is called “Rita’s Balance,” and is all about the Sta. Rita Hills and I highly suggest you check it out (with a glass of The Hilt in hand, of course): https://www.roadsideterroir.com/podcast/episode/400c109e/s1e2-ritas-balance


The Rosé International Bargain Six Pack!

Here’s a no-brainer.

The distributors are wheeling and dealing on their remaining 2022 rosé to make room and cash for the 2023’s, and we’re passing the deals onward to you. Normally this collection is nearly $100, but here and now it’s only $72.

These wines are fantastic bargains and will give you lots of happiness while we await the 2023’s to arrive.

One bottle each from Washington, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, and Spain.

  • Pratsch Rosé, Austria
  • Commanderie de Bargemone, Provence, France
  • Raza Vinho Verde Rosé, Portugal
  • Scaia Rosato, Veneto, Italy
  • Protocolo Rosé, Spain
  • and Lone Birch Rose of Syrah, Yakima Valley, Washington

All six of these wines are pop-on-a-whim dry pink wines. None of them are the equivalent of a BMW 7-series, but all are a good solid Toyota. Does that make sense? Dependable, reliable, and affordable.

Stock up to enjoy this great weather!

Thank you, everyone! We couldn’t do this without you!

Jason Kallsen
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education


Offer is open Friday at 3:00pm central until Sunday evening, or as inventory lasts.

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