Vineyard: Fiddlestix

OwnerKathy Joseph
AppellationSta. Rita Hills
StoryOwned by Kathy Joseph and partners and managed by viticulturists Jeff Newton and Larry Finkle of Coastal Vineyard Care. It was first planted in 1998 entirely to Pinot Noir. Located on the north side of a tight east-west running valley across the highway from the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. The soils is well-drained Gazos and Botella clay loam, loaded with chert and Monterey shale. There are 32 mini-blocks in the vineyard, representing different combinations of six clones, three rootstocks, and various elevations, exposures and soil combinations.
VarietiesPinot Noir

Reviewed wines produced from this vineyard

2012 Pali “Summit” Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 2,434 cases, $29. Aged 10 months in 30% new French oak barrels. Sourced from Bentrock, Radian, Fiddlestix, and Rancho La Vina vineyards. · Dark violet in color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of black raspberry infusion, blackberry tart and spice. Bold and assertive in a modern California style with decadent layers of sappy black raspberry and blackberry fruit. Velvety on the palate with balanced tannins and some finishing intensity. Score: 87. Reviewed February 22, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Ryan Cochrane Wines Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 134 cases, $43. 75% clone 115, 25% Pommard 5. 30% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 10 months in 1 new and 4 neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color and slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Demure aromas of dark red berries and leafy herbs build in intensity over time in the glass. Mid weight core of dark red berry fruits with a riff of savory herbs in the background and a touch of citrus on the finish. Bright acidity, managed firm tannins and a graceful presence. Better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Tasted twice. Score: 88. Reviewed March 29, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Pali Wine Co. Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

15.8% alc., 100 cases, $54, screw cap. Clones 667, 777, 115 and Pommard 4. Aged 15 months in 50% new French oak. · Moderately dark purple color in the glass. Earthy nose perfumed with scents of compost, dark stone and berry fruits and dark chocolate. Mid-weight flavors of black plums, blackberries and currants with a hint of oak-driven graham and dark chocolate notes. The pedigree of the fruit really shows through. Firmly structured, but pleasing to drink, leaving a bit of heat in its wake on the finish, especially as it warms in the glass. Still appealing the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Made well in its style, and has the tannins and fruit to stand up to the high alcohol, but still a little too boozy for me. Good (+). Reviewed July 23, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Fiddlehead Cellars Seven Twenty Eight Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $42. Named for mile marker 728 on Santa Rosa Road. A cuvée of grapes from multiple parts of the vineyard. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose delivers a pleasing message of fresh dark berries and spice. Very tasty essence of dark berry jam and plum reduction sauce on the palate complimented by new oak in the background. Nicely composed with balanced tannins and acidity, a seamless character, and a good finish. Ready to drink now. Score: 89. Reviewed August 14, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Pali Wine Co. Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 112 cases, $48, screw cap. Clones 667, 777, 115 and Pommard 4 from this vineyard that was planted in 1998. Aged 15 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Aromas of deep, dark fruits with hints of oak, spice and vanillin, veering to roasted fruit aromas over time in the glass. Intense and attention-grabbing flavors of blackberries, black raspberries, black currants and the faintest oak, persisting on the fruit-driven finish. Very plush and soft in the mouth. Plenty to like in this wine, but the ripeness of the fruit distracts. Good (+). Reviewed November 2, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Sine Cera” Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 125 cases, $70. This vineyard is farmed by Jeff Newton. Yields are 2.5 tons per acre from 11 to 12 year-old vines. Clones 115, 667 and 777. Aged in 70% new French oak barrels. · Gorgeous aromas of black cherries, blueberries, and black raspberries with a hint of cardamom spice. Powerful black cherry and red licorice flavors, but silky smooth with tamed tannins. I didn’t write much about this wine in my notebook because it defied descriptives and I was stunned as I sampled it. It was the only wine I swallowed. In a word, spectacular. Could be California’s next 100 point wine. Reviewed March 13, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Paul Lato Wines “Sine Cera” Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

“Sine Cera” is a Latin idiom meaning “without wax.” Wax was used historically to cover imperfections in statues. One new barrel of clone 113. · Lovely aromas of dark cherries and berries with a touch of chocolate and violets. Smoothly textured with supple tannins and a soft and scented exit. Reviewed May 7, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Pali Wine Co. Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

15.1% alc., 125 cases, $44, screw cap. Clones 667 and Pommard 4. Aged 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Darkly colored in the glass. Wellscented nose featuring red and black fruits, spice and subtle oak. The flavors echo the aromas with an added touch of vanilla and citrus peel. The luscious fruit makes a statement on the palate, yet remains light on its feet. The chalky tannins are quite normal for this vineyard. The alcohol is well integrated and the fruit-laden finish lingers for some time. Very good (+). Reviewed July 15, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 RN Estate Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 170 cases, $49. Dijon clones 113, 115, 667. Aged 14 months in 45% new French oak barrels. · Lovely mix of dark red cherries and berries on the nose with toasty oak playing a supporting role. Soft in the mouth with moderately intense flavors offering welcoming charm. My only nit would be a touch of heat that peaks out. Good (+). Reviewed March 12, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Paul Lato “Sine Cera” Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

$70. Barrel sample. Clones 115, 667, 777. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color. More tannic, loamy and savory than the other wines in the lineup. The well-hung core of dark fruit is brooding which is not surprising as this wine is typically slow to evolve. Big but not at all jammy. Develops increasing charm with time in the glass. Very good (+). Reviewed March 11, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Paul Lato “Sine Cera” Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 125 cases, $70. Clones 115, 667 and 777. Unfiltered. · Gorgeous aromas of black cherries and Grandma’s fresh berry preserves with a hint of spice box including cardamom. The showy dark berry and plum fruit really sings on the palate. A man’s Pinot with plenty of sinewy tannin framing the lush fruit, but not at all jammy. The finish has plenty of length. Softer and even more expressive the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. I have three words for this wine: delicious, seductive and beguiling. An All-American. Reviewed January 27, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 RN Estate Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 120 cases. · A chameleon in the glass starting off with aromas of cherries, summer herbs including sage, and oak ramping up in fruit intensity with notes of good barnyard. Soft and delicate in the mouth but possessing a richly flavored core of cherry and berry fruit. A tame style of Fiddlestix with very supple tannins. This wine seduces more than it attacks. Very good. Reviewed April 8, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 TAZ Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.8% alc.. · Moderately colored with redder tones. Shy nose that picks up interest with time in the glass revealing scents of dark red fruits and toasty oak. Lovely core of smoky dark red cherry and berry fruits with an underlying earthiness. Fairly bold and tannic with more oak than I prefer. Good. Reviewed April 8, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Prodigal Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 50 cases, $35. Clones 115, 667. Aged in 33% new French oak, bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Subdued aromas of dark berry fruits with hints of Provencal herbs and forest floor. Juicy and bright on the attack with substantial fruit intensity and noticeable fine-grain tannins. This wine has bold flavors but retains an appealing elegance. Could use another year or two in the cellar to fully integrate the tannins. Fine the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good. Reviewed April 9, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Pali Wine Co. Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 110 cases, $50, released November 2008. Clones 667 and Pommard 4. · Alive with scents of mushu plum sauce, blueberries, cherries and olives. Multi faceted fruits have a rich, glass-filling presence. A hint of coffee and pepper adds interest. As is typical for this vineyard, plenty of tannin is noted, but the tannin is refined and velvety creating a sensual mouthfeel. The wine was even better the next day when re-tasted from a previously open and re-corked bottle. This Pinot is a real turn-on and one to spend the night with. Reviewed July 9, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Paul Lato Wines “Sine Cera” Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc.,125 cases, $73. · Deep, dark brooding nose showing aromas of black cherries, raspberries and white pepper. A distinctive wine with woodsy and earthy dark stone fruits that are both lush and mysterious. Deft touch of oak and admirable corralling of tannins. A hint of citrus shows up in the finish which is unbelievably persistent. This is a wine that comes at you, grabs hold and demands your attention. Screams for duck. Reviewed May 7, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 RN Estate Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 145 cases, $48. Whole cluster fermentation, aged 14 months in French oak. · The nose is reticent but coaxing reveals pleasant aromas of brambly cherry and strawberry with a sniff of alcohol. Restrained, tasty cherry and berry flavors with echoes of spice and oak. Lighter and elegantly styled with bright acidity. This wine should be a knockout with another year in bottle. Reviewed October 1, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Summerland Winery Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 430 cases, $48. From the winery’s Single Vineyard Collection. Clones 113, 667, 777, and Pommard. 6-7 day cold soak, fermentation in 1.5 ton open-top fermenters with hand punch downs, Assmanhausen yeast innoculation, 20-25 day maceration, and aging in 1/3 new Francois Freres cooperage for 11 months. · The nose is a killer. Expressive perfume of crushed black cherries, baking spice, subtle oak, and a hint of fecundity that comes and goes. Black cherry and berry fruit is set off by a touch of herbs and loamy earth with reigned in tannins and lively acidity. Drinking beautifully now. Reviewed October 1, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Paul Lato “Sine Cera” Fiddlestix Vineyard Ste. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $65. Fiddlestix Vineyard consists of 97 acres of Pinot Noir of which the first plantings began in 1998. Located on the north side of a tight eastwest running valley, fog hangs over the vines until midmorning and the temperature barely rises above 75°F. The vineyard is farmed by Coastal Vineyard Care (Jeff Newton and Larry Finkle). Paul declassified 60% of the wine. · This wine is all about power with finesse. The Fiddlestix fruit can be foreboding, but Paul has tamed the beast beautifully. This wine is the “dark side” of Paul Lato. Very pleasing nose of black cherries and savory herbs. Great sweetness of dark red fruit which gets tastier and tastier in the glass over time. Powerful, yet very clean, pure and refreshing. This one has the bling without the weight. Reviewed July 19, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Wedell Cellars Ste. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 181 cases, $70. This wine is a blend of Dijon clones 113, 115, 667 and 777 with the majority of the fruit coming from Fiddlestix Vineyard. The harvest in 2006 was extended and delayed, allowing good development of flavors. The grapes were de-stemmed after sorting, with all of the free run juice resulting from the de-stemming discarded. Open top small bin fermenters were employed and indigenous yeasts used. The wine was aged 16 months in 70% new French oak. · Dark reddish-purple robe. Powerful scents of black cherry, sage, and toasty oak. A whiff of alcohol peaks out. There are juicy and succulent dark stone fruits that cascade over the palate and fill the mouth with richness. A citrus note adds interest. The texture is soft and slippery, and there is good grip on the finish. This wine will appeal to fans of fruit-powered, pedal to the metal, Pinot Noir. Reviewed July 19, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Fiddlehead Cellars Lollapalooza Fiddlestix Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 250 cases, $75. A selection of the best 6-10 barrels in the cellar intended to represent the best of the vintage. Aged in 35% new French oak barrels and cellared for 18 months in bottle before release. Tasted recently at the winery. · Dark reddish-purple color. Black cherry, blackberry personality with hints of mocha and earth. Grainy ripe tannins still need time to soften. Well-endowed but suave and will benefit for cellaring. Very good. Reviewed December 16, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Jonata La Poesia de Jonata Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

15.2% alc., $90. · A rich, big-boned Pinot Noir with alluring scents of ripe black cherry liquor and a hint of oak char. Full-bodied darker fruits enhanced by savory herbs and oak with a grilled fruit and soy accent. Nicely balanced with a lovely smooth velvety texture and enough acidity to bring the fruit into focus. The aromatic finish lingers on and on. An expensive bottle of wine, but one that really delivers the goods. Reviewed October 1, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Fiddlehead Cellars Seven Twenty Eight Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.,$38. This is a blend of several clones and aged in barrels from several coopers. It can be drunk at a relatively early age. · This is a darkly colored wine that reminds me of Chunky Monkey ice cream. Delightful chocolate-coated cherries, oak toast, vanillin and herb garden scents lead to similar flavors with black raspberries and black cherries standing out complimented by good acid cut and a note of tangerine peel on the clean finish. The tannins are refined and the whole package is nicely balanced. Reviewed October 1, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Rusack Reserve Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 445 cases, $38. This wine is composed of the best barrels from Fiddlestix Vineyard (50%) and Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard (50%). 35% new French oak in the élevage. · This wine was one of my favorites that I tasted at the event. Deep red fruits with cinnamon and earth drive the flavors and a nice sweet cherry finish leaves a lasting impression. The texture is silky and comforting. A little heat peaks out on the nose but it is not obtrusive. Reviewed July 23, 2007 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Tyler Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $47. · Confected cherry with toasty oak, sage and a hint of alcohol on the nose. Red cherry-driven with complimentary savory herbs and oak. Easy on the palate finishing dry and a little sharp. Reviewed August 4, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Hitching Post Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

325 cases, $50. 4 clones, 2 different rootstocks, picked in separate passes through the vineyard. · This wine is meaty and thick with lavish and rich, mature dark fruits. There is plenty of earthiness and mushroom flavors. A fruit bomb with judicious use of oak. Reviewed July 23, 2007 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Arcadian Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.36, TA 0.71, 183cases, $60. Davis has been making wine from this vineyard since 2001. Sourced from Block 1 planted in 1998 and Block 2 planted in 1999. Clones 113, 115, 667, 777. 70% whole cluster. Yields were 1.75 tons per acre. Aged 22 months in 40% 3 year-old extratight- grain Sirugue French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Enticing array of scents including dark berry preserves, toast and forest floor. The most tannic wine among those tasted here but balanced nicely by the intense and vibrant black cherry and dark red berry fruit. Davis fights to tame this vineyard which can be aggressive. Drank much better the next day and was spectacular two days after opening from an re-corked bottle. Approachable now, but will be cause for celebration several years from now. Reviewed July 1, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Ortman Family Vineyards Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

$34. · The red fruit aromas are pleasing, and the raspberry jam flavors are a bit lean, but satisfying. Reviewed July 23, 2007 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Summerland Winery Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 425 cases, $48. Kathy Joseph's 133-acre Fiddlestix Vineyard is one of the finest sites for Pinot Noir in the Santa Rita Hills. Grapes for this wine were Pommard, 113, 667 and 777 clones. · The wine has a beautiful dark violet robe. The aromas and flavors make me think of blackberry jam spread thickly on a hearty piece of toast. There is plenty of spice, some plums as well, and a hint of forest floor. Soft, ripe tannins caress the fruit. The wine is very plush and silky in the mouth and the fruity finish lingers for at least ten seconds. As Mick Jagger would say, "It's only Pinot Noir, but I like it." Reviewed June 5, 2006 WINERY »

2004 Arcadian Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

15.8% alc., $50. Co-owner and winemaker Davis has been a close friend of Kathy Joseph's and began sourcing fruit from Fiddlestix Vineyard in 2001. · Dark reddish-purple wine showing very ripe, raisiny and oak-infused aromas. Cooked dark fruit flavors with grippy tannins, tangy acidity and a dry, tart finish. Reviewed October 1, 2008 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Bonaccorsi Wine Company Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc. $60. · This deeply colored wine has a woodsy, damp, barnyard aromatic profile. The flavors are complex with black fruits, spice, earth, herbs, root beer, wood and raisin evident. The texture is caressing. Mild drying tannins are evident on the finish. Reviewed --/--/-- WINERY »

2003 Fiddlehead Cellars Seven Twenty Eight Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Tasted at a rustic picnic table under an old oak tree looking across the Fiddlestix Vineyard in the late afternoon as the shadows began to settle over the vista. It was a magical time of the day and this wine suited the occasion just fine. · Follows the theme of the 2002 728 Pinot Noir with added flavors of white pepper and spice. Reviewed September 26, 2006 WINERY »

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2003 Fiddlehead Lollapalooza Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 312 cases, $50. · The 2002 was as smooth as a baby’s bottom, the 2003 is just starting to round out beautifully, and the 2004 is a youngster that drinks like mother’s milk. I told Kathy I preferred the 2003 and she replied, “Good thing, that’s the one that is currently for sale!” Reviewed March 5, 2007 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2002 Fiddlehead Cellars Seven Twenty Eight Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $38. A selection of six clones on three rootstocks fermented in small vats and aged in barrels from five French coopers. · This Pinot exhibits finesse over fruit heaviness. The aromatics feature dark berries and cherries jubilee leading to a mouthful of racy fruits highlighted by tea, cola and spice. The whole package is beautifully balanced and the lengthy finish is uplifted by bright acidity. A typical 728 with attractive aromatics early on and early drinkability. A lot of Pinot magic at work here. Reviewed September 26, 2006 WINERY »

2002 Arcadian Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

$50. Joe says the grapes from Fiddlestix can have considerable structure and tannin and it takes some clever skill to “tame the beast.” · This is a current release and shows off what Joe’s wines do with a little bottle age. Plenty of complexity here with charming earth, leather and soy notes and dusty tannins. Reviewed July 23, 2007 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2002 Fiddlehead Cellars Lollapalooza Fiddlestix Vineyrd Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 300 cases, $50. Lollapalooza is old English slang for "something outstanding of its kind." This wine is the end result of extensive tastings during the vintage's 16-month aging period. Certain barrels shout, "Lollapalooza!" Individual barrels are selected on their merit, but also chosen to blend harmoniously with other nominees. · Aromas of sweet pipe tobacco and crushed dark cherries waft from the glass. The flavors are vigorous and intense featuring dark, plumy fruit and stylish notes of mocha and cinnamon. The texture is marked by silk and satin. Flat out beautiful. Reviewed September 26, 2006 WINERY »

2002 Fiddlehead Cellars Doyle Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 50 cases, $97. A Pinot Noir of extraordinary breeding, only produced when the vintage delivers. One barrel produced in 2003, none in 2004. This is the second time I have sampled this wine and both times I found it to be incredibly exotic. · Fat and opulent, tight and concentrated, the wine must be decanted before drinking. It is a dense and powerfully structured Pinot Noir with perfect integration of oak and alcohol, possessing soft mouth coating tannins, and finishing with a taste that lingers to the next day. I would swear there is some Vahlrona chocolatein this Pinot Noir. This is a wine to cellar if you can keep your hands off of it. A mouthful so sensuous you will need a cold shower afterward. Reviewed September 26, 2006 WINERY »

2001 Fiddlehead Cellars Lollapalooza Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

A touch of gaminess on the nose reminds one of a Burgundy. A very elegant and mature wine with a rich, sweet palate of berry and cherry fruit finishing with a touch of Asian spice. A Grace Kelly of a Pinot. Reviewed September 26, 2006 WINERY »