Vintage 2015
Wine Type Red
Varietal Pinot Noir
Region Santa Rita Hills
Winemaker Jon Priest

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.

Wine Advocate 91 Points

“Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, the 2015 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard has a fun cherry cola and watermelon nose with some peppered meat and raspberry tart nuances, plus a touch of Provence herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has nice weight and depth of red berry and spice flavors supported by rounded tannins and just enough freshness, finishing peppery.” - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Winemaker's Tasting Note

Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir always shows a sense of elegance, with silky, glossy tannins—and this vintage continues that tradition. Plush and round, full without being overly heavy, savory notes are shared with aromas and flavors of pomegranate, raspberry and plum with a touch of oak spice and toasted graham cracker. The finish lingers, long and satisfying. While restraint and finesse are sometimes used with this wine, in this vintage it’s more of a statement wine, and the statement is clear: This is a fine example of what defines the Santa Rita Hills.

About the Vintage

The lasting impression of this challenging vintage will be the reduced yields resulting from three prior years with abundant yields, married with a lingering drought, terrible weather during flowering and set and an early Fall frost. Nature. While bunches and berries were small, the precious fruit that remained was even more concentrated and flavorful. Harvest began about two weeks early. Small but mighty could be the bumpersticker. 

Winemaking Notes

The vineyard lies 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 marine influence from Pacific currents, but sits low enough against the hills to achieve some protection from the area’s strong afternoon winds. Exposure to coastal breezes and fog ensures cooling influences throughout extended sunny days, which helps to add depth and vibrancy to the fruit. Temperatures are rarely above the mid 70’s. In 35 small blocks on 96 acres, a variety of rootstocks and clones are planted in well-draining Gazos and Batella clay loam and calcareous marine shale providing complexity and diversity to the vineyard. Nearby are some of California’s most famed and historic Pinot Noir vineyards.   

Winemaking Notes

Crafted with the same minimal winemaking techniques no matter the growing region, Etude Pinot Noir purely reflects the unique essence and character of the vineyard, maintaining Etude’s signature hallmarks of aromatic intrigue, vibrancy of expression and depth in ageability.
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