Winemaker Rick Longoria lovingly farms this terrific site and generously allows us to purchase a small portion of his vineyard’s production. Rick and I agree that there is only a moment in time when the character of the vineyard fully expresses itself. Picked a couple of days too soon or too late and all is lost. The raw material here at Fe Ciega is so interesting–it has the acidity that is needed for good balance and it possesses a unique vineyard personality that is intriguing. While it is always fruit filled, deeply colored and dense, it is not particularly fruity—this is a wine that speaks of its earthy origins!
Much like its famous neighbor to the east, Sanford and Benedict, Fe Ciega is planted on light clay soil over a fractured shale base. This soil seems to give the grapes excellent acidity and a richness of flavor that is quite satisfying. Rick generously sells me a small amount of each of the three clones he has planted there: Pommard, Dijon 115 and Dijon 667.
Background: 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.