Sta. Rita Hilla
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One terrific wine word is one that comes from the French (go figure), sauvage. Translating closely to savage, it relates to that which is wild and untamed, the cycle of life and death—wet moss, mushrooms on fallen trees, blood in the leaf litter—all that comes to mind when contemplating a vast shaded forest. And in our lineup of Pinot Noir, it has always been Fe Ciega that best expresses this spirit, in a loud and broad shouldered kind of way.
Over the years this site taught us that in a vineyard with this much soul, it’s not always necessary to extract every last bit of it. So we approached this wine with gentler hands for a time, and found ourselves missing some of the visceral feel we knew from before. It took only an incremental adjustment—a cooperative vintage and a few days on skins after dryness was attained—and all the shape and verve we could ask for presented itself in fine balance.
2016 was a welcome return to cool, onshore breezes and foggy episodes throughout the growing season. We were able to go deeper than the umami-laden red fruits offered in the past few drought vintages, plunging into the spectrum of dark, concentrated and woodsy fruit that we knew from the more mild vintages of the mid-2000s. The bulk of the clonal planting at Fe Ciega is the Pommard clone (with a couple Dijon selections), and some of that savagery expressed in the genetic hometown presents itself thanks to this cool, slower to mature vintage.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.5% | Vinification: Traditional open top fermentation with 15% whole clusters| Barrel Aging: 15 Months in French oak barrels, 20% new | Total Production 301 Cases
“I was blown away by the 2016 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega, a dead ringer for a Grand Cru Red Burgundy. Black cherries, black raspberries, sous bois, earth, and loads of spice notes all flow to a medium-bodied, richly textured, concentrated effort that does everything right. I like it today, but it will be even better with another year or so in bottle and keep for 10-15 years.” Jeb Dunnuck – 96 Points