Wine Enthusiast magazine just released its critics’ “Top 100 Cellar Selection Wines of 2012,” and the sole Santa Barbara County wine to make the list is a pinot noir from Longoria Wines.

Rick Longoria’s 2009 Fe Ciega Vineyard Pinot Noir is number 10 on the list.

The magazine’s “cellar selection” list includes wines that its critics, including Steve Heimoff, believe would benefit from additional years in the cellar.

“We’re very pleased that the pinot noir from our estate vineyard has been included,” said Longoria, co-owner with his wife, Diana, of the label, based in Lompoc’s Wine Ghetto.

In awarding the wine a 95-point rating, Heimoff wrote: “A top-ranked pinot noir, this is dry, silky and elegant, with moderate alcohol despite great richness. The flavors of cherries, cola, plums and herbs are simply delicious, while the structure displays great integrity of acids and tannins. A bit tight now in youth, it should unfold over the next eight years.”

Longoria planted Fe Ciega in 1998 on the western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills viticultural appellation. Every vintage from this vineyard, from 2001 to 2009, has earned at least 90 points from various publications, among them Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, Burghound, the Pinot Report, The Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator, according to a Longoria news release.


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The 2012 grape harvest is likely to have nearly wound to a close by the time this column is published.

Several winemakers I know just brought in loads of their latest-ripening grapes, which this year turned out to be petite sirah and mourvedre.

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As I’ve previously noted, local vineyard managers and winemakers have voiced pleasure with both the quality and volume of the 2012 vintages.

California’s grape harvest yielded “generous amounts of high-quality fruit,” noted the San Francisco-based Wine Institute.

“The 2012 vintage will offer consumers in our growing national and international markets fantastic choices,” said Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. “The California wine grape harvest is estimated at 3.7 million tons, up from 3.3 million tons in 2011.”

“It was a good harvest season for the California wine grape crop, and both growers and vintners should be happy,” said Nat DiBuduo, president and CEO of Allied Grape Growers.

“The quality of grapes was very good, and the crop was average to above average depending on the region and variety. Although there were late rains in October, 85 to 95 percent of the crop had already been harvested. The California wine grape crop should hit the 3.7 million tons estimated earlier in the year. Overall, the biggest problem this year was that many of the red varietal grapes came in at the same time, filling wineries to capacity,” DiBuduo said.

Since temperatures throughout the Central Coast remained steady and cool during the season, with only a few heat spikes, grapes’ presented a balance between acidity and brix, or sugar.

Freelance writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at Her blog is