Sta. Rita Hills
A few years ago, I was at Jim and Bob’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 at the site, which truly is fantastic. Rick is doing an excellent job farming the vineyard, and I am excited with my first endeavor with it. The vineyard name was originally called Blind Faith (from rock music fame), but because the name was already copyrighted, Rick chose the Spanish translation: Fe Ciega.
The wine, while packed with dense fruit, is decidedly not fruity. It is far more fascinating than just that. The vineyard’s character shines through-a blend of spices, herbs and smoke-utterly unique. At a recent dinner I put this up against a big and good 2003 grand cru Burgundy, and the Fe Ciega easily trounced it-this is amazing stuff! It drinks well right now but certainly will improve for at least the next 5 years.
P.S. In case you don’t already know, Rick makes wonderful wines himself under the Longoria label. I absolutely love his pinot noirs.