When it comes to the world of fine wines, few stories captivate the imagination as much as the journey of two labels that emerge from the same winemaker's artistic touch, yet are crafted in vastly different landscapes. The Hilt and Jonata, both under the guidance of the skilled hands of winemaker Matt Dees, exemplify the beauty of terroir-driven winemaking in California.
Introduction to The Hilt and JonataThe Hilt and Jonata are two distinct wine labels, each with its own identity, story, and purpose. Led by the visionary winemaker Matt Dees, these labels share a common thread that runs deeper than just their creator. The wines produced by these labels are true reflections of the land from which they hail, showcasing the intricate relationship between terroir, winemaker's expertise, and the grapes themselves.
Jonata Shared Craftsmanship, Unique Expressions
The intriguing aspect of these labels lies in the fact that they are both products of Matt Dees' winemaking prowess. Drawing from his experience at renowned wineries like Staglin in Napa Valley and Craggy Range in New Zealand, Dees brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique approach to winemaking to both The Hilt and Jonata.
Diverse Terroirs, Distinctive Characteristics
Terroir, the combination of soil, climate, and topography, plays a pivotal role in shaping the character of wines. The difference in terroir between The Hilt and Jonata is a captivating story in itself. Jonata, situated in Ballard Canyon, pays homage to its historical roots with a focus on Bordeaux grape varieties. The vineyards of Jonata boast sandy maritime soil known as Careaga Sandstone, which imparts unique qualities to the grapes.
Contrastingly, The Hilt, nestled in the cool embrace of Santa Rita Hills, embarks on a journey of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Dees envisions crafting the finest Chardonnay in the country, a vision well-supported by the conducive Santa Barbara climate. The diatomaceous earth, like lunar dust, adds an ethereal touch to the wines, resulting in Chardonnays with crisp acidity and mineral intricacy.
Diverse Wine Profiles
In each bottle, you discover the tale of the land. Jonata's wines evoke the spirit of Bordeaux with their robustness, structured tannins, and flavours that resonate with the unique sandy soils. This label aims to produce the finest Rhone-style wines in the country, a vision that finds expression in each glass poured.
On the other hand, The Hilt's Chardonnays beckon you with elegance and finesse, celebrating the potential of Santa Barbara's terroir. The vision to create the best Chardonnay in the nation finds fruition through wines that dance on the palate with crisp acidity, delicate mineral notes, and layers of complexity
A Maverick Winemaker and His PlaygroundThe man behind the magic, Matt Dees, is a true maverick. Joining Jonata at a young age, Dees brought his unconventional perspective to the vineyards. Armed with a background in plant sciences rather than enology, he fearlessly experimented with the marginal terroirs of both The Hilt and Jonata. This approach allowed him to harness the unique characteristics of each region, resulting in exceptional wines that challenge conventions.
A Rare Freedom for Innovation
The freedom Dees enjoyed to experiment and innovate within these estates is a rarity in the wine industry. The support of owners Stan Kroenke (who also owns the Napa Valley cult label, Screaming Eagle) and Ann Walton Kroenke has provided him with a blank canvas on which to create his vinous masterpieces. Stan Kroenke's vast business empire, which includes sports teams and prestigious wineries, has granted Dees the freedom to explore and push boundaries.