Salsipuedes is made up of three distinct vineyards Bentrock, Radian, and Puerto del Mar. Two distinct ridges, Bentrock and Radian, define the property and are the primary sources for The Hilt’s wines, The Old Guard and The Vanguard. These wines are produced separately in order to capture the different characters of these ridgeline vineyards. Radian’s steeper, more rugged and rocky terrain is the core of The Old Guard, while the long, rolling ridgelines of Bentrock serve as the core of The Vanguard. Grapes for Estate wines come from many sites, scattered throughout Salsipuedes at varying altitudes and aspects. While The Old Guard and The Vanguard represent two unique interpretations of the land and two very different styles, Estate offers one pleasurable and unified expression of property.
Radian’s terroir is rugged and extreme. At its highest points, the Radian vineyard reaches nearly 700 feet, and here vines are more exposed to the wind. The resulting grapes express these wild conditions, with more austere, structured tannins. Radian covers just over 100 acres, with a tiny portion planted to chardonnay (6.1 acres), and nearly 95 acres planted with pinot noir.
Vineyards for The Hilt wines are all high in altitude, but Radian’s ridgelines are the steepest, reaching nearly 700 feet at its highest points. Outcrops of diatomaceous earth and rocky soils dominate Radian and ultimately help define the type of fruit the vines yield. The rocky soils at the top of Radian offer good drainage and heat retention, an aspect critical to the production of ripe fruit at high altitude with cold, whipping winds.
Situated over 500 feet above sea level, Bentrock is comprised of long, rolling hills. Though the altitude is high, the ridges are not steep. Vines flow gently down the hillsides, gathering ample sunlight yet ripening slowly because of altitude and moderate cooling breezes. Bentrock vineyard is nearly 92 acres, with close to 80 acres planted with pinot noir and just over 13 acres planted with chardonnay.
Bentrock vineyards range from 400-500 feet. In contrast to the steep, rocky Radian vineyard, Bentrock is made up of long, rolling hills that are reminiscent of some of Burgundy’s most prized vineyard sites. These high elevations allow for a long, cool ripening season, so the grapes can accumulate ample sugars while still retaining fresh acidity. Clay, sediment, and shale make up the majority of Bentrock vineyard along with outcrops of diatomaceous earth (fossilized ocean skeletons aka plankton) that is prized for its high silica content and porosity.
Puerta del Mar’s is home to some of the estates finest pinot noir and chardonnay vines. Alongside these vines is the estate’s winery, where winemaker Matt Dees brings the personalities of The Hilt’s wines to life.