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.
"The 2016 Pinot Noir Forte; Fiddlestix Vineyard emerges from a selection of nine blocks on the property split between hillside and floor sites where the clonal selection yields wines with more darkness, power and textural resonance. Winemaker Jon Priest gives the Forte; an extra four months in barrel, which accentuates the wine's overall intensity. Black cherry, plum, chocolate and earthy notes add to the wine's dark, virile feel." - Antonio Galloni, December 2018
“Aged in 25% new French oak for 12 months, the medium ruby-purple colored 2016 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard sings of red and purple flowers—violets, roses and lavender—over a core of kirsch, fresh raspberries and tilled soil. Medium-bodied with great vibrancy and a soft, fine-grained texture, it finishes long and perfumed.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2018
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.
The extended drought was beginning to cause concern as the 2016 growing season began. However, a very warm spring and early summer with almost no rain allowed the fruit to ripen at a steady and deliberate pace. July and August brought cool nights and gentle warmth to the Sta. Rita Hills to allow the smaller-sized crop to mature perfectly, producing small berries in pristine condition. The drier-than normal conditions and the region’s abundant sunshine resulted in wines with excellent concentration, balance, color and intensity, resulting in Pinot Noir fruit showing exceptional depth and finesse.
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.
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.
For more than a decade Jon has fashioned Etude wines with a simple creed. Inspired winegrowing diminishes the need for a winemaker to intervene in the cellar. Whether sourcing from the estate Grace Benoist Ranch in Sonoma's Los Carneros, or vineyards like Fiddlestix and North Canyon in famed growing regions of California's Central Coast, his focus is on coaxing the very best from the vineyard. It shows in every glass of Etude.
|Oak Treatment||100% French oak barrels for 12 months, 25% new|
|Blend||100% Pinot Noir|