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2020 Forte Pinot Noir

2020 Forte Pinot Noir

Sta. Rita Hills750ml 14.5

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...

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, extreme proximity to the Pacific Ocean and ancient marine bed soils are perfect for world class Pinot Noir.

  • Alcohol 14%
Regular price $70.00
Regular price $70.00 Sale price

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  • Vintage: 2020
  • Region: Santa Barbara County
  • Appelation: Sta. Rita Hills
  • ABV: 14.5
  • Varietal: Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes

This vintage of Forté is boisterous and bright with unctuous depth of fruit and lovely concentration. The aromatic nose is expressive and lively, full of ripe red berries, cherry kirsch, and blood orange, sitting alongside lifted floral notes of hibiscus potpourri, crushed rose petal, and warmer baking spiced notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and cedar, from the well-integrated oak. On the palate, the mouthfeel is silky and lithe, with a freshness of fruit hinting at raspberry preserves, delicate violet perfume and a clay-like earthy minerality. Incredibly balanced and graceful, the wine dances across palate with mouthwatering acidity and earthy undertones. All leading to a long finish with persistence and intrigue, unfolding layer by layer to more complexity and nuance. Enjoyable sip after sip upon release and certain to age well for several years when cellared properly.

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The Vineyard

Fiddlestix Vineyard

In the heart of Sta. Rita Hills, Fiddlestix Vineyard was deliberately planted for Pinot Noir and the alluring varietal remains not only the vineyard’s, but the appellation’s Forté. Comprised of the finest blocks of the vintage, Etude Forté is a limited bottling that best exemplifies the characteristics of Fiddlestix Vineyard: dense concentration of fruit flavors, natural balance, and vibrant acidity.

One of the smaller AVAs in California, Sta. Rita Hills occupies the portion of Santa Ynez Valley west of Highway 101 and is home to some of Santa Barbara County’s best-known Pinot Noirs. Located a few miles inland alongside the Santa Ynez River bench at the western end of the transverse-oriented Santa Ynez Valley, Fiddlestix Vineyard 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 31 small blocks, a variety of rootstocks and clones are planted in well-draining clay loam and calcareous marine shale.


  • Winter

    The 2020 season is considered another successful vintage, despite being remembered for factors beyond the typical harvest season. It was a warm, dry winter and the rain and cooler weather didn’t arrive until the end of March.

  • Spring

    While the mild spring season was a great early start, our winery working conditions had extensive safety protocols due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Summer

    Summer brought very cool mornings and very warm days, but then harvest was interrupted by wildfires across California, which came as grapes started to be picked, and we were very fortunate that none of our vineyards were in the areas of the active fires.

  • Harvest

    The red wine harvest started in late August, with the wines showing excellent development in cellars, reflecting the fine vintage year.

Crafted Excellence


The grapes for this wine were harvested at night to preserve freshness and integrity. They were placed in open-top fermenters for 3-5 days of cold maceration followed by fermentation. A small percentage of the grapes were left as whole cluster to preserve the buoyancy of aromatics of the fruit and to add structure and refinement to the wine. Punch downs were performed during the early stages of fermentation with the extraction becoming gentler as the wine became dry, and followed with a quiet extended maceration to help modify the richness and mouthfeel of the wine. The wine was lightly pressed into small French oak barrels where it rested for 14 months.