Santa Barbara: The Thrill of Discovery by Antonio Galloni

We received our latest reviews from Antonio Galloni and we are beside ourselves. He has once again not only given us great scores, but he has complimented us in a way that goes above and beyond expectations. Thanks to Mr. Galloni and the crew at Vinous!

This lineup from Foxen is easily among the most impressive I have tasted this year. The wines move from strength to strength, always with exceptional purity, tons of transparency to site and impeccable class. The only problem here is one of mind-boggling choice, as the range is full of highlights. Simply put, I can’t recommend these wines highly enough.” -Antonio Galloni, July 2014

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2013 Chenin Blanc Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard – 90 points
The 2013 Chenin Blanc Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard Old Vines is soft, supple and accessible. Pear, melon, almonds, and spices inform the expressive, silky finish. This is an impeccable white from Foxen to drink now and over the next few years.

2013 Chardonnay Block UU – Bien Nacido Vineyard – 91-93 points
The 2013 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU is gorgeous and also remarkably different from the Tinaquaic. Honey, orange blossom, mint, sage and tropical overtones meld together in an overt, opulent Chardonnay built on pure texture.

2013 Chardonnay Tinaquaic Vineyard – 91-93 points
Sweet lemon peel and floral notes emerge from the 2013 Chardonnay Tinaquaic Vineyard. This bright, impeccably textured Santa Maria Chardonnay is built on silkiness, energy and texture. There is a lot to look forward to. The partial malo style and the choice to not stir the lees yields a beautifully focused Chardonnay.

2012 Pinot Noir Block 8 – Bien Nacido Vineyard – 92 points
The 2012 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Block 8, from one of the highest and steepest parcels on this site, is beautifully perfumed, vibrant and expressive. Graphite, violets, blueberries and mint are all laced together in a supple, lifted Pinot loaded with class and personality.

2012 Pinot Noir Block 43 – Bien Nacido Vineyard – 91 points
Foxen’s 2012 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Block 43 is a bit bigger and richer than the Block 8, with more density and mid-palate, but less in the way of aromatic complexity. Crushed flowers, spices, red berries and mint are all laced together on the supple finish.

2012 Pinot Noir Julia’s Vineyard – 91 points
Rose petals, sweet red berries, mint and cinnamon are woven together nicely in the 2012 Pinot Noir Julia’s Vineyard. The Pommard clone planted here yields a supple, resonant Pinot built on fruit, mid-palate texture and approachability.

2012 Pinot Noir John Sebastiano Vineyard – 92 points
The 2012 Pinot Noir John Sebastiano Vineyard is one of the more intense, explosive wines in the Foxen range. Dark red and black stone fruits, cloves, menthol, tar and licorice blossom as this large-scaled, voluptuous Pinot shows off its personality. The finish is rich, broad and creamy.

2012 Pinot Noir Melville Vineyard – 91 points
The 2012 Pinot Noir Melville Vineyard stands out for its floral, lifted personality. This is the only Pinot in the Foxen range made with whole clusters, which marks the wine to a significant degree. Sage, tobacco, tea leaves, lavender and dried rose petals are some of the many notes that inform the pointed, vibrant finish.

2012 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard – 94 points
The 2012 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard is one of the clear standouts among this year’s Pinot releases from Foxen. A crystalline, weightless wine, the 2012 impresses for its pure nuance and vibrancy. Layers of dark red and blue fruit, wild flowers and cinnamon wrap around the silky, expressive finish. Sadly, there are just 125 cases to go around. Readers who can find the 2012 should not hesitate, as it is superb.

2012 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard – 94 points
The 2012 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard is another of the many highlights in this range. Here the flavors are dark, smoky and gamy. Dark red cherry, plum, tobacco and cured meats flesh out in a resonant, highly expressive Pinot endowed with notable depth, especially within the context of the vintage. Hints of dried rose petal and violets linger on the finish. From start to finish, the Encantada is superb.

2012 Cuvée Jeanne Marie Williamson-Doré Vineyard – 93 points
The Grenache-based 2012 Cuvée Jeanne Marie Williamson-Doré Vineyard is floral, lifted and very pretty. Bright red berries meld into perfumed notes in a forward, fruit-driven wine to drink in its youth, while the flavors remain alive and expressive. This is yet another superb, polished wine from Foxen. The blend is 83% Grenache and 17% Mourvedre.

2012 Syrah Williamson-Doré Vineyard – 93 points
Deeply spiced, layered, violets, menthol and blueberry jam meld together in the 2012 Syrah Williamson-Doré Vineyard. Pliant, expressive and beautifully layered, the 2012 stands out for its sheer balance. In 2012, the Syrah Williamson-Doré is flat-out delicious.

2012 Syrah Tinaquaic Vineyard – 95 points
Foxen’s 2012 Syrah Tinaquaic Vineyard Estate is laced with rose petal, white flowers, mint, blood orange and spices. The Tinaquaic boasts gorgeous aromatics, finely-sculpted fruit and exceptional overall balance, all in a mid-weight, gracious style. Today, the 2012 is simply irresistible. The Tinaquaic Syrah isn’t huge, rather it is a wine built on total harmony.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Vogelzang Vineyard – 92 points
Sandalwood, cedar, mint, tobacco, sage and sweet plums are all laced together in the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Vogelzang Vineyard. This is a typical and highly representative Happy Canyon Cabernet with just a bit less richness than is typically the case, most of that the result of the cold year. Today, the 2011 is drop-dead gorgeous. It will drink well for another 5-7 years, although I don’t expect it to materially improve. No matter, though, the 2011 Vogelzang is beautiful and expressive right now.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Grassini Family Vineyard – 91 points
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Grassini Family Vineyard is a bigger, richer, more explosive wine than the Vogelzang Cabernet, but it also lacks that wine’s aromatic complexity and overall finesse. Hints of chocolate, red plum and spice flesh out on the expressive finish. There is a wonderful sense of immediacy here, though. I expect the 2011 will continue to drink beautifully for another 5-7 years.



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