Mission Codename Vines & Violins
Blown away by his profound Oakville Cabernet last, we are firm believers that Joel Aiken is as close to a deity as winemakers can get. He’s a first-generation protégé of André Tchelistcheff, America’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker, and his magic touch has transformed Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards though a 3-decade imprint nothing short of legendary. Here’s proof that a Cabernet specialist can also churn out stunning Pinot Noir.
A vibrant deep lipstick core turns to a paler garnet with this still blooming Pinot Noir of utmost visual appeal. Cool, berry-driven aromas of cassis, blackberries, cherries, minerals, and flowers adorn the perfume while the mouthfeel impression is vibrant, lush and suave, with ultrafine tannins and a juicy, refreshing mid-palate. It finishes long, with ripe, sweet fruits, pomegranate along with licorice and herbs. It’s the ideal pairing candidate for any duck dish, be it whole tea-smoked, confit of leg, or grilled breast à l’Orange.
Aiken just does not work with any ole vineyard. The source of this Pinot is vintner extraordinaire Kathy Joseph’s top estate vineyard Fiddlestix, a site that pioneered the fame of the oceanfront appellation of Sta. Rita Hills to pave the road for legendary names like Sea Smoke and Brewer Clifton. Along with Kathy’s own Fiddlehead Cellars, Bonaccorsi, Hitching Post, Vogelzang, Paul Lato and Jonata are some of the crucial names that have been allocated Fiddlestix fruit. We are both honored and thrilled to bring you this showstopper Pinot with unprecedented 67% savings. Too bad there won’t be enough for latecomers.
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
92 Points, Editors’ Choice – Wine Enthusiast - “Plump blackberries and warm gingerbread dusted with clove, nutmeg and anise makes for a very complex and layered nose. The palate is hearty with black plum skins, bramble and ripe elderberry, with lots of sage and coyote brush playing into a strong chaparral spice.”
91 Points – PinotReport - “In each of the wine growing appellations of California that are Pinot-centric, there are a few notable vineyards that define the region. Fiddlestix Vineyard is a vineyard of such renown that along with special vineyards like Sanford & Benedict, La Rinconada, La Encantada, Cargassachi, and Clos Pepe, the Fiddlestix name on a label has become a guarantee of excellence in Pinot Noir from the area. The quality of the grapes from this vineyard are held in such high esteem that those who source grapes rarely request any changing in farming practices. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. An array of dark red and blackberry aromas infused with graphite and woodland scents greet the nose. The middleweight flavors of dark red and purple berries are framed by well-honed tannins and judicious oak. Noticeably vigorous on the attack with a welcome intensity on the finish that offers gratifying length. Very similar to the Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noirs in style, but this wine has its own cachet. Still redeeming the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.”
Wine of the Week – Napa Valley Register “Joel Aiken is one of those iconic winemakers that even other revered winemakers are excited to bump into. “Did you see that Joel Aiken is here?” was overheard at the Stags Leap District Premier tasting event earlier this spring. Following several decades establishing the style of Beaulieu Vineyards’ wines, and working with the likes of André Tchelistcheff, Joel now works on his own Aiken brand, and consults for other wineries. The Fiddlestix Pinot Noir is a mix of power and finesse. The fruit comes from Kathy Joseph, of Fiddlehead fame. A silky ribbon of rich red cherries and spice flow across the palate finishing with a lift of acidity that gives the wine a delicious vibrancy. There is oak complexity but it is not overdone; Joel looks to avoid overly oaky wines. One-third of the barrels used are new, and it is all French for this Pinot Noir.”
What the Winery Says
2013 Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
- Joel Aiken
- 100% Pinot Noir
- Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast
- Fiddlestix Vineyard
- 777, Pommard 5
- Kathy Joseph
- 12 months
- 33% new French oak
- Bottling date
- August 28, 2014
- 5 barrels