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2009 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 Ynez 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, varied soils to create a staggering level of diversity from this single vineyard.  The remarkably consistent weather, characterized by lower highs and higher lows than our North Coast vineyards, conspires with silica-laden, marine sedimentary soils to make wines of power and exceptional structure.  This vintage marks our seventh working with Kathy and this remarkable vineyard.
About the Vintage...
Late spring rains helped the vines to bounce back from the stress of the previous year with healthy and vigorous growth, although yields remained on the low side of average.  Steady temperatures temperatures promoted even development and led to an early harvest.  The fruit was in the hopper long before the unseasonably early beginning of the autumn rains.  All in all, the vintage provided superior structure coupled with piquant fruit flavors and lively aromas.
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 in order to optimally control 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.  204 cases produced.
Tasting Notes...
Intense, fresh 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 orange peel, 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 or longer, filling out the palate with rich, organic, and earthy flavors, while its strong tannins resolve into a silken and even longer palate.