Sta. Rita Hills
Pinot Noir’s relationship with wood is a lot different than Chardonnay’s. If Chardonnay fruit is richly flavored to begin then new oak further enriches the wine, often becoming cloying. With Pinot Noir you find that brawnier fruit can be contained by the wood, bridling its exuberance and playing up its structure.
Fe Ciega is always our most dark and impactful Pinot Noir. While the wine is too wildly earthy to call Fe Ciega a “fruity” Pinot Noir, it is voluminous, broad and giving—perfect for exploring that intersection of great wood and dramatic fruit.
For this 2017 Fe Ciega Special Bottling we repeated what we loved in our 2012 iteration: we bought the wood for these two Francois Freres barrels 4 years before they were made, giving the staves two additional years of air drying than usual, so harsh tannins are further cured out and the wood influence is more subtle. These pricy special barrels were filled with a Clone 115 lot and left on fine lees until bottling 15 months later.
2017 provided a mouthcoating richness with our Fe Ciega Pinot Noir, coming on like a smooth unfettered wave. Here the wine’s flow is directed by the barrel’s spicy tannins, compressed and accelerated in places, expanded in others, much like how boulders direct water in a river. There’s also an aromatic overlay of blonde roast coffee, toasted coriander and allspice that complicates Fe Ciega’s core, but doesn’t obscure the site’s wilder nature.
More so than the standard bottling, this a deep, brooding wine that will start to reveal its best after 3 to 5 years in bottle, and will surely dazzle. In this first year after bottling it’s sublime on day two and three.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.5% | Vinification: Traditional open top fermentation with 15% whole clusters| Barrel Aging: 15 Months in French oak barrels, 100% new | Total Production 45 Cases
“Brought up in new French oak barrels, the 2017 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard Special Bottling takes the straight Fe Ciega Vineyard release and gives it more oomph, depth, and richness. Stunning notes of red and black currants, scorched earth, wood smoke, and some complex, reductive notes all flow to a full-bodied Pinot Noir that’s flawlessly balanced, has ripe, present tannins, and a monster finish. It’s unquestionably the finest Pinot Noir I’ve ever tasted from this team.” Jeb Dunnuck – 98 Points