Fiddlehead Cellars

Owner(s) Kathy Joseph
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Fiddlehead Cellars
Head "fiddletalker" Kathy Joseph has been at the helm of Fiddlehead Cellars for seventeen years. Her husband, Tom Doiyle, an attorney living in Sacramento, assists. The wines are crafted in a small but efficient winery (with adjacent tasting room) in the Lompoc "Wine Ghetto." She farms Fiddlestix Vineyard which supplies grapes to many notable California producers and also sources grapes from Oregon. Her top Pinot Noirs are 728 and Lollapooliza. Sauvignon Blancs and Rose are excellent as well. Her annual Fiddlefest, held in a barn at Fiddlestix Vineyard for her customers, is a must-attend event for Pinot lovers. Kathy is taking a crash language course in Mexico so she can "have more fun during harvest with my vineyard crew."

Reviewed Wines

2017 Fiddlehead Pink Fiddle Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta, Rita Hills Rosé of Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.31, TA 0.60, 273 cases, $23. Not a saignée, but rather a purposeful rosé produced from distinctive blocks at Fiddlestix Vineyard in the nascent stage of the vintage. Each block and clonal selection (113, Pommard 4, 667) is targeted specifically for this wine by expressing early flavor maturity at lower sugar. Less than 24-hour skin contact. Gentle de-stemmed, free-run juice and light pressed skins, cold fermented in stainless steel to dryness. Partial malolactic fermentation. · Watermelon pink color in the glass. The aromatics are highly enticing, featuring scents of cut apple, strawberry, raspberry, red current, and watermelon. The flavors echo the aromas with added flavors of red cherry and cranberry. Brisk, clean, dry and vivacious with welcome richness of flavor and spirited acidity. Score: 91. Reviewed September 28, 2018 ARTICLE »

2015 Fiddlehead Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Grüner Veltliner

13.0% alc., pH 3.05, TA 0.66, 356 cases, $28. Harvested from 2.8-acres planted at Fiddlestix Vineyard. Grapes were harvested at night and handsorted. Whole cluster pressed to tank, cold-settled and racked to a majority of neutral French oak barrel where it was aged on its less. The remaining 25% was cold fermented in tank. Both fractions were non-malolactic fermented and aged separately for 10 months after which they were married together just before bottling. · Pale platinum color in the glass. Gracious aromas of lemon-lime, parchment, wax and nuts. Bright and crisp on the palate, infused with flavors of lemon-lime, pear, vanilla, cream soda and nuts. Very polished, with refreshing acidity. Still fine when re-tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. I do not have much experience with this varietal so I have few benchmarks for comparison, but this was an outstanding wine and I presume a superb example of this varietal. Score: 92. Reviewed September 28, 2018 ARTICLE »

2013 Fiddlehead Seven Twenty Eight Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.31, TA 0.6659, 2,880 cases, $44. Grapes harvested at night, clones 115, 113, Pommard 4, 667, 777 and Pommard 5 co-fermented in small vats after de-stemmed. Aged in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose leads with aged aromas of black cherry, leather, game, black currant and oak spice. Nicely balanced, with middleweight flavors of dark cherry, blueberry and black currant. The wine seems to have arrived at early maturity and shows a bit of rusticity and earthiness. The tannins are sleek, there is good acidity and some finishing length. Score: 90. Reviewed September 28, 2018 ARTICLE »

2012 Fiddlehead Lollapalooza Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.589, 307 cases, $80. The most outstanding barrels in the vintage as selected by Kathy Joseph and her winemaking team. Sourced from 19 blocks throughout Fiddlestix Vineyard and included multiple pick dates. Grapes were harvested at night, meticulously hand-sorted and 100% de-stemmed. Clones were primarily 777, followed by 667 and Pommard 4 and 5. Free-run juice only was aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 36% new. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with fresh aromas of black cherry and spice. Discreetly rich in a mid weight plus style, offering layers of dark red and black fruits with a compliment of spice and oak. The suave, dry tannins lead to a satiny texture and the generous finish is notable. Considerably more special when tasted later in the day from a previously opened bottle. Score: 93. Reviewed September 28, 2018 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 ARTICLE »

2006 Fiddlehead Cellars Oldsville Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $50. Sourced from Elton and Allore vineyards. Aged 15 months in 35% French oak barrels and aged an additional 24 months in bottle. Tasted recently at the winery. · The aromatics are striking featuring dark cherries and plum, sage and a kiss of oak. Mid-weight fruit attack with supple tannins, a velvety texture, bright acidity and a lingering finish. This wine yearns for food. Very good. Reviewed December 16, 2009 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 ARTICLE »

2005 Fiddlehead Cellars Sweetie Late Harvest Wine

11.7% alc., 287 cases, 1/2 bottles ("little fiddle screwys"), $25. Sauvignon Blanc with a hint of Muscat Blanc. 50% of the grapes are dehydrated on the vine with extended hang time (35º Brix) and 50% are dried in trays to concentrate the pure fruit fragrance. The wine is fermented cold, non-malolactic, with 14% residual sugar. Sweetie is a labor of love named after Kathy's husband and sweetie, Tom Doyle. · A delicious dessert wine combined flavors of tropical fruits, caramel, and vanilla. Sweet, but not cloying. Perfectly fine on its own served ice cold or pour it over vanilla bean ice cream topped with fresh pineapple and caramel syrup - a wine-food match that brings you to your knees. Reviewed September 26, 2006

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 ARTICLE »

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

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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 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

2002 Fiddlehead Cellars Oldsville Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 793 cases, $40. The last vintage of Oregon Pinot Noir by Kathy Joseph that was fermented, aged and bottled in Oregon. A blend of old Pommard clones and Dijon clone 115 from four vineyard sources. · This is a restrained and elegant Pinot Noir, yet it possesses full flavors at the core. There are appealing notes of cherry and brown spices with suede-like tannins that give the wine an appealing plushness. Reviewed September 26, 2006

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

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

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

2001 Fiddlehead Cellars Goosebury Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc

14.1% alc., 194 cases, $32. 100% Vogelzang Vineyard Musque clone. Cold fermented, non-malolactic, no oak influence. · A bright, crisp and refreshing wine with laser focus and racy acidity. Very appealing aromas and flavors of stone fruits, citrus, and minerals making it a perfect match with cevichè. Fresh as a daisy. Reviewed September 26, 2006

2001 Fiddlehead Cellars Honeysuckle Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc

14.0% alc., 500 cases, $32. This wine reflects Kathy's love of Bordeaux-style white wines. A rich and creamy wine reflecting aging in 100% new tight grain Sequin Moreau and Damy barrels for 8 months. Whole cluster pressed, non-malolactic. Clone 1 and Musque clone from Vogelzang Vineyard are co-fermented in each oak cask. · A layered and complex Sauvignon Blanc which features appealing flavors of honey, roasted nuts, spice, citrus and vanilla pudding. A harmonious wine that is a blanc lover's feast. Reviewed September 26, 2006

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