Sta. Rita Hilla
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Fe Ciega is always our most dark and impactful Pinot Noir. The site demands kid gloves with extraction, as we’ve learned that if we’re not careful it can almost take on the power of Syrah. It’s an ideally situated vineyard; Fe Ciega sits on a South facing slope close to the Santa Ynez River, smack dab in the middle of Sta Rita Hills with four clones of Pinot Noir planted on richer clay loam.
Compared to the sandier stretches of Sta Rita Hills to the North, this richer soil lends a more savory, spicy and animal profile to Pinot Noir. The fruit that 2017 provided us is very much that way, strutting in lockstep with classic vintages of the late 2000s.
The vintage wasn’t necessarily cool or warm; the weather was mostly coastally influenced, but offshore wind events near harvest demanded vigilance. With Fe Ciega, those last pushes of warmth brought this fruit to ripeness after the Labor Day heatwave.
This wine manifests a bit of the site’s potential for decadence. Deep and contoured flavors of dark cherry and sweet rhubarb dominate its entry. Those come on with the feel of a glassy and shapely wave, coating the palate and leaving not spray but eddies going downward. Tannins are fine, graphite like. After air quiets the fruit a bit, those earthy Fe Ciega facets present themselves, with aromas of five spice (fennel seed for sure), new leather, moss and wool. It’s lusciously fruitful but dank and woodsy too, much like the ’09 but better extracted for elegance.
This 2017 will improve with age, but it’s seductive and gratifying now. Enjoy as you will.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.5% | Vinification: Traditional open top fermentation with 14% whole clusters| Barrel Aging: 15 Months in French oak barrels, 22% new | Total Production 301 Cases
“The 2017 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard is as classic a Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir as I could image and offers beautiful red currants, forest floors, dried flowers, and underbrush aromas and flavors. With a great texture, present yet ripe tannins, integrated acidity, and a great finish, you can drink bottles today or cellar for over a decade.” Jeb Dunnuck – 95 Points
Antonia Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2017 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega is another super-expressive wine in this range. Dark red/purplish berry fruit, lavender, spice, mint, iron and earthiness give the Fe Ciega a real sense of gravitas. Deceptive in its mid-weight personality, the 2017 packs a real punch. Dried flowers, grilled herbs, menthol and licorice develop later, adding further shades of complexity.” Antonio Galloni – 93 Points