Fiddlehead Cellars Sta. Rita Hills

Fiddlehead Cellars Sta. Rita Hills

fiddleheadcellardsA native of Chicago and a bio-chemist, Kathy Joseph established her small operation in 1989 and makes just Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. A Pinot rosé was added for the first time with the 2005 vintage. The three dry Sauvignons are sourced from a mix of cooler and warmer Santa Ynez sites. The Happy Canyon bottling comes from vineyards within the recently established AVA of the same name, which is a sub region of Santa Ynez. It is ripe and lightly tropical in style and gets a rich creamy texture from a combination of fermentation and short ageing in 50/50 new and neutral oak; one-third is vinified in stainless steel. Goosebury is a blend of the Vogelzang and McGinley vineyards and is coolfermented with malolactic blocked to provide a piercingly pure and minerally green fruited style in the manner of the best of Sancerre. Best of the trio is the Honeysuckle, a more structured example which is vinified and aged in 100% new wood. It comes solely from the Vogelzang vineyard and is entitled to the Happy Canyon appellation. The cool nights here together with a blocked malolactic ensures good acidity and structure in the wine. It always gets three years ageing in bottle before being released. Of the Pinots, both the 728 and Lollapalooza come from the estate Fiddlestix Vineyard which has been a source of other fine examples from the likes of AMPELOS and ARCADIAN. The wines are firm and structured with opulent sweet berry character in warm years. 728 refers to the mile marker on the Santa Rosa road where the Fiddlestix vineyard is sited. Lollapalooza is a barrel selection of wine sourced from the best blocks. In very exceptional years (2010 is currently available) a single exceptional barrel, Doyle, is selected and bottled with a small series of artists labels. It is by no means cheap (£H). An Oldsville Reserve Pinot comes from the Willamette Valley and is in marked contrast to the Fiddlestix wines; tighter and more elegant with lighter red berry and herb scented fruit. Like the Lollapalooza, it is oak-aged (40% new) but the oak is similarly seamlessly integrated. A single barrel selection is again made in the very best years and labelled Alloro. There is also a characterful lateharvest white made from dried Sauvignon grapes with just a touch of botrytis. It is also sourced from the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA. (DM)

Fiddlehead Cellars Sta. Rita Hills
Kathy Joseph 1597 East Chestnut Avenue, Lompoc, CA 93436
Tel: 805 742-8284

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