Ojai Pinot Noir "Fe Ciega Vineyard" 2018 (Sta. Rita Hills, California) - [JD 94+] [AG 93]

Ojai Pinot Noir "Fe Ciega Vineyard" 2018
(Sta. Rita Hills, California) - [JD 94+] [AG 93]


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JD94+ AG93
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Notes from the Winemaker:
Deep and contoured flavors of dark cherry and sweet rhubarb dominate the entry here. Tannins are fine, graphite like. After air mellows the fruit, earthy Fe Ciega facets present themselves, with aromas of five spice, new leather, moss and wool.

Sta. Rita Hills:
Fe Ciega is always our most dark and impactful Pinot Noir. The site demands kid gloves with extraction, as we’ve learned that if we’re not careful it can almost take on the power of Syrah. It’s an ideally situated vineyard; Fe Ciega sits on a South facing slope close to the Santa Ynez River, smack dab in the middle of Sta Rita Hills with four clones of Pinot Noir planted on richer clay loam.

Compared to the sandier stretches of Sta Rita Hills to the North, this richer soil lends a more savory, spicy and animal profile to Pinot Noir. The fruit that 2017 provided us is very much that way, strutting in lockstep with classic vintages of the late 2000s.

The vintage wasn’t necessarily cool or warm; the weather was mostly coastally influenced, but offshore wind events near harvest demanded vigilance. With Fe Ciega, those last pushes of warmth brought this fruit to ripeness after the Labor Day heatwave.

This wine manifests a bit of the site’s potential for decadence. Deep and contoured flavors of dark cherry and sweet rhubarb dominate its entry. Those come on with the feel of a glassy and shapely wave, coating the palate and leaving not spray but eddies going downward. Tannins are fine, graphite like. After air quiets the fruit a bit, those earthy Fe Ciega facets present themselves, with aromas of five spice (fennel seed for sure), new leather, moss and wool. It’s lusciously fruitful but dank and woodsy too, much like the ’09 but better extracted for elegance.

This 2017 will improve with age, but it’s seductive and gratifying now. Enjoy as you will.


Ratings & Reviews



94+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck:
"The 2018 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard is another Burgundian-styled beauty that has a touch of reduction in its violets, crushed stone, black cherry, and raspberry aromas and flavors. As with all of Adam's wines, it's beautiful on the palate and has a seamless, elegant texture, light tannins, good acidity, and the balance to keep for 10-12 years or more." - Jeb Dunnuck (8/4/2020)

93 Points - Vinous:
"The 2018 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard is another of the highlights in this range. Dark blue/purplish fruit, lavender, mint, sage and licorice present an alluring expression of the Sta. Rita Hills. Like so many wines in this range, the 2018 is deep and flavorful, yet not at all heavy. Even so, there is a resonance to the Fe Ciega that is impossible to miss. The tannins just need a bit of time to soften. " Antonio Galloni - (Aug 2020)