Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Fiddlehead Cellars Fiddlestix Vineyard

Sunday, July 28th. There is nothing particularly unique about this date except that when you write it out numerically, it is 7/28. And, those are the same numbers as the mile marker 7.28 where Fiddlestix vineyard is located and where the flagship Fiddelhead Cellars 728 Pinot Noir is made. So, on 7/28, I headed up to the Santa Ynez Valley to celebrate “Drink 728 on 7/28”. After a day of tasting through all of the wines produced from the fruit from the vines at mile marker 7.28, the wines of Fiddlestix Vineyard is the Please the Palate pick of the week.

Mile marker 7.28 is located, logically, 7.28 miles down Santa Rosa Road in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in the Santa Ynez Valley. A 133 acre property, owner and winemaker Kathy Joseph purchased the property in 1996. Today 96 acres are planted to Pinot Noir, as well as a small planting of Gruner Veltliner.

Fiddlestix Vineyard is ten miles from the Pacific Ocean, with the Santa Rosa Hills to the South and the Santa Rita Hills to the North. Due to the valley’s east-west orientation, the ocean breeze travels down the valley, as fog covers the valley in the morning and a cool breeze can be felt most days.

An ebullient and impassioned winemaker, Kathy meticulously nurtures the Fiddlestix Vineyard. The vineyard has 32 mini-blocks, six clones and three rootstocks. There are various exposures, soils and elevations. Throughout a season, Kathy thins shoots, pulls leaves and thins crop in order to achieve the ideal cluster. A number of winemakers in the area recognize the quality of the fruit from Fiddlestix Vineyard as they purchase fruit for their own wines.

For Fiddlehead Cellars, Kathy produces four Pinot Noirs from the Fiddlestix Vineyard. Fiddlehead Cellars Seven Twenty Eight is a blend of all six clones planted in the vineyard. Fiddlehead Cellars Lollapalooza, which means “the best of its kind”, is a selection of the best barrels, which are each tasted blind each vintage. Fiddlehead Cellars Burtie Baby, named for Kathy’s mother’s pet name for Kathy’s father, is a blend of seven selected barrels. Fiddlehead Cellars Doyle is a selected single barrel that stands out above all the rest. This is not a wine made every year but when it is made, there are only 273 bottles in total.

In addition to the Pinot Noir wines, Fiddlehead Cellars also releases a Rosé of Pinot Noir, a sparkling Blanc de Noir, a Gruner Veltliner and a Reserve Gruner Veltliner, made from one selected barrel from the Fiddlestix Vineyard.

You don’t have to wait until next July 28th to celebrate mile marker 7.28. Enjoy the Fiddlehead Cellar wines from Fiddlestix Vineyard any day and you will understand why they are the Please The Palate pick of the week.