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Ryan Cochrane Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
  • WE92
14.5% ABV
  • WE93
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Sourced from the same incredible vineyard as my previous wines, the 2012 Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir is all Sta. Rita Hills. The nose features a rich combination of black cherries, fresh raspberries, wet forest, anisette and rose garden. The medium-bodied mouthfeel is firm, rich and round, reminding me of the texture of liquidized sour hard candy. On the palette, rich tones of sour dark cherries, red berries and plum mix with flourishes of sweet lemon rind, rhubarb pie, eastern spices and jasmine tea. The generous acid at the end carries a finish that goes on and on. This is a powerful wine that will improve with cellar age. If you just can't wait, decanting is recommended.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
This shows the ripe, expressive nature of the vineyard, with rich raspberry and red currant flavors, accompanied by brisk acidity and a scour of tannins. Spicy earthiness comes from partial whole-cluster fermentation that may add to the wine's age worthiness.
Cellar Selection.
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Ryan Cochrane

Ryan Cochrane Wines

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Ryan Cochrane Wines, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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Ryan Cochrane makes hand-crafted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in extremely small quantities. With grapes sourced from the best vineyards, Ryan produces food-friendly, structured wines that reflect the sites from which they originated. More importantly, he just wants to create wines that make people smile.

Back in 2009, he wasn’t smiling a lot. The advertising agency he was working at had just imploded. Ryan started freelancing, but it was a bad time for work in San Francisco. He had always dreamed about making wine, so one foggy morning in July, he decided to stop dreaming about it and do it for reals.

He contacted Roger Nicolas at RN Estate in Paso Robles and asked if he could intern with him. Roger makes beautiful wines, but he was equally enamored of his DEY (do everything yourself) approach to his business. That year, he helped in all phases of harvest, from vineyard work in the spring to pressing and barreling in the fall.

Ryan came back to RNE in 2010, and made 24.5 cases of his inaugural Pinot Noir on the side. In 2011, he tripled his production and was promoted to Roger’s assistant winemaker. He made two different Pinots in 2012 and his very first Chardonnay in 2013. All from two of the most extraordinary vineyards in Santa Barbara County.

Sta. Rita Hills

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A superior source of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, westernmost sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation within Santa Barbara County. This relatively new AVA is unquestionably one to keep an eye on.

The climate of Sta. Rita Hills is a natural match for Chardonnay and Pinot noir, thanks to the crisp ocean breezes and well-drained, limestone-rich calcareous soil. Here, grapes ripen just enough, while retaining brisk acidity and harmonious balance.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

LID10001495_2012 Item# 277586