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2008 Sta Rita Hills "Fiddlestix Vineyard"

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About the Vineyard...
The Fiddlestix Vineyard is located in the Sta Rita Hills AVA which straddle the Santa Inez River as it makes its way to the Pacific Ocean.  As a East-West oriented valley, opening its mouth to the cool Pacific breezes, the consistent and cooling marine influence is significant.  The vineyard is managed and owned in partnership by Kathy Joseph, who has planted an array of clones and rootstocks on several various soils to create a staggering level of diversity from this single vineyard.  The remarkably consistent weather, characterized by lower highs and higher lows than valley floor vineyard throughout the North Coast, conspires with marine sedimentary soils and alluvials to make wines of power and exceptional structure.  This vintage marks our fifth, working with Kathy and this remarkable vineyard.

About the Vintage...
2008 was a lesson in the primary importance of balance in the vineyard. A drier than usual winter exacerbated the existing drought conditions, and a late spring series of frosty mornings cut down the yields considerably. The marine currents protected the vines from frost, for the most part, however yields remained a bit lower than usual. A summer full of warm mornings coddled the fruit as it developed and made for an earlier than average harvest. The lower yields made it possible for the vines to withstand the stress of the drought and deliver healthy, ripe fruit full of concentrated fruit flavor. The vines achieved this level of balance naturally, and what started out like difficult year resolved itself into a very solid vintage.

About the Wine...
The grapes were 100% destemmed into an open top fermenter and cold soaked for 5 days. We utilized a combination of hand punch-downs and a submerged cap device to achieve optimal extraction from the skins.  We fermented with a combination of RC212 and Assmannshausen yeasts, with a peak temperature of 94F.  The wine was aged for 17 months in an array of Francois Freres and Remond cooperage, entirely of Bertrange Oak and a majority new.  We held the wine in bottle for nearly a year before release.  173 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...
This wine exemplifies the concentration of flavors that we found to be so typical of the 2008 vintage.  Intense, fresh dark fruits lead the palate, settling on the mid-palate with focused, ripe flavors of strawberry, cassis, and currants.  The nose is enticing and layered, with fresh fruits laying over top of holiday spices, tobacco, and stony earth.   Good acidity provides brightness and balance, while structure, always a strong suit for this wine, is emphasized by mouth-filling tannins.  The spicy aromatics continue through the long finish.  This a wine that will lay down nicely for a decade, filling out the palate with rich, organic, and earthy flavors, while its strong tannins resolve into a silken and even longer palate.