Sta Rita Hills

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Several years ago, I was at Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist’s 50th birthday bash and met up with Rick Longoria. He told me the most amazing story of how, at a luncheon at Sweeney Canyon vineyard, near the western edge of the Santa Rita Hills appellation, he had looked at the lovely hills above and commented to the person sitting next to him that he could see a perfect vineyard site across the way. The fellow said he owned that property, and, not long after, he invited Rick to design, plant and grow a vineyard for him—with Rick the exclusive buyer. When Rick asked me if I would like to buy a small portion of the fruit, I hesitated (because we already make so many different wines) until I got my first glimpse of the site, which truly is fantastic. Rick is doing an excellent job farming the vineyard, and we have been thrilled with the quality of the wines we have produced since 2003.

Rick and I have the same idea of when to harvest the grapes—at that optimal point when the fruit is perfumed and ripe but not heavy and over-the-top. 2009 gave us a particularly generous wine that is already delicious to drink today. Fe Ciega always has an exotic earthy note that makes it so interesting, and it has a savory mineral structure that will allow it to age gracefully for years.

Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 14.3% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 15 Months | Total Production: 245 cases

Press Reviews

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“The 2009 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega is gorgeous. It presents an attractive marriage of power and structure. There is an energy and raciness to the Fe Ciega that is compelling. Dark cherries, plums, menthol and sweet floral notes wrap around the intense finish. The Pinot clones in this parcel at Fe Ciega are 667, 115 and Pommard.” – AG 93 Points


“A beautifully perfumed and layered nose features cool and admirably pure aromas of dark berries, spices and hints of warm earth. There is excellent concentration and an abundance of dry extract that imparts a seductive and velvety mouth feel to the middle weight flavors that terminate in a balanced, persistent and impressively complex finish. Lovely and built to age.” 91 Points

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

“Vibrant ruby.  Sexy aromas of candied red berries, rose, lavender and star anise.  Pure and incisive on the palate, displaying intense raspberry and cherry flavors and a hint of bitter rhubarb.  Extremely suave, seamless pinot with superb clarity to its sweet, persistent finish.  Awfully seductive right now but balanced to reward patience.” – JR 93 Points