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One of the smaller AVAs in California, Sta. Rita Hills is home to some of Santa Barbara’s best-known Pinot Noirs and occupies the western portion of Santa Ynez Valley between Buellton and Lompoc. The region’s east-to-west orientation of the valley, extreme proximity to the Pacific and ancient marine bed soils combine to create an ideal cool-climate area for Pinot Noir.
In the heart of Sta. Rita Hills, Fiddlestix Vineyard was deliberately planted as a vineyard for Pinot Noir. Located a few miles inland alongside the Santa Ynez River bench at the western end of the transverse-oriented Santa Ynez Valley, Fiddlestix receives a consistent draw of Pacific currents, but sits low enough against the hills to achieve some protection from the area’s strong afternoon winds. This unique exposure to coastal breezes and fog ensures cooling influences throughout extended sunny days, which helps to add depth and vibrancy in resulting Pinot Noirs. In 35 small blocks, a variety of rootstocks and clones are planted in well-draining clay loam and calcareous marine shale to provide complexity and diversity to the vineyard. A longstanding partnership allows our involvement in the farming of this vineyard to be uniquely hands on, which ensures viticulture practices and farming measures are comparable with that of Etude’s Estate Vineyards in order to achieve the same high level of quality wines.
The 2014 Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir shows the elegant side of this vineyard with its structure, restraint and finesse. Simultaneously deep and penetrating flavors of Bing cherry, pomegranate and raspberry give into savory notes of earth and spice. The wine is fresh and lively on the palate, offering bright acidity and youthful tannins that linger through the lasting finish.
The 2014 growing season in Santa Barbara County began even and warm, which brought early bud break and created ideal conditions for fruit set. The warm weather continued well into the summer months with no major heat spikes, and the consistent, moderate temperatures stayed favorable throughout the fall. The overall dry season made for a short and condensed harvest, but the resulting moderate yields of Pinot Noir fruit showed exceptional depth and concentration.
“The outstanding 2014 Pinot Noir North Fiddlestix Vineyard reveals loads of sassafras and damp earth, but impressive quantities of black cherry and blackcurrant fruit with clove and allspice. This outstanding Pinot Noir is complex and best drunk over the next 5-6 years.”