Pinot Noir expresses the place it was grown to a degree that no other wine grape can. The varietal offers a delicate transparency that when pursued right, effortlessly reveals its origins. After 30 years of crafting Pinot Noir in Carneros, Etude continues its study of this captivating varietal and its varying expressions in some of the New World’s most renowned Pinot-producing regions.
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.
Source: Fiddlestix Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Vinification: 100% French oak barrels (33% new) for 13 months
Clones: Dijon 667, 777, 113, 115, Pommard
Cases produced: 320
“The 2015 Pinot Noir Forté Fiddlestix Vineyard is a selection of the best lots within Fiddlestix that spends a bit more time in barrel. A wine of texture and depth, the Forté offers a bit more richness than the straight Fiddlestix bottling, but it, too, is nicely balanced." - Antonio Galloni, March 2018
“Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2015 Pinot Noir Forté-Fiddlestix Vineyard is redolent of red currants, red plums and roses with touches of stewed tea and garrigue, plus a hint of sage. Medium-bodied with very fine, pixilated tannins, it has a lively line cutting through the intense red berry and earth layers, finishing long." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2017
“Snappy black-raspberry aromas meet with thyme sprigs, carnations, cinnamon and a hint of smoke on the very fresh and lively nose. Elegant flavors of cranberry, pomegranate and hibiscus are hit with a dash of potpourri on the sip, and it's refreshing that this reserve-type bottling aims for vibrancy and grace rather than simply strong oak." - Matt Kettmann, May 2018
Capturing the personality of this unique vineyard, our 2015 Forté Pinot Noir teems with integrated notes of black cherry, blackberries and black currants and showcases an excellent and balanced acidity. An elegant minerality weaves within notes of forest loam, mushroom and delicate baking spices of cinnamon stick and vanilla. A distinct vibrancy is delivered, in tandem with plush fruit, graceful tannins and a lengthy finish.
The lasting impression of this challenging 2015 growing season in Santa Barbara County will be the reduced yields following on from three prior years with abundant yields, married with a lingering drought, terrible weather during flowering and set, and an early Fall frost. This is the true result of what nature gives us. While the grape bunches and berries were small, the precious fruit that remained was even more concentrated and flavorful, resulting in a beautiful wine. Harvest began about two weeks early. Small but mighty could be the anthem for the 2015 vintage.
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’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 35 small blocks, a variety of rootstocks and clones are planted in well-draining clay loam and calcareous marine shale.
Crafted with the same minimal winemaking techniques as Etude’s celebrated Carneros Pinot Noirs, each regional wine purely reflects the unique essence and character of its regional vineyard and still maintains Etude’s hallmarks of aromatic intrigue, vibrancy of expression and depth in ageability.