Q: How did 2018 harvest differ from previous harvests?
A: The main difference as far as the growing season was concerned was that the ’16-’17 season had 23.75 inches of rain compared with 9.85 inches for ’17-’18. Because of that, yields were a little bit lower, but the quality was exceptional. Another big difference was the low-and-slow, later part of the growing season. We had a nice mild beginning of spring, without any high winds, and then there was a heat spike toward the end of July that brought things back up to par. The friendliness of this weather pattern was especially evident in Happy Canyon with the Bordeaux varietals. Typically, when we pick these varietals in their ripe and mature state, they need help with their pH levels. Because of that, you’re usually having to add acidity to the wine to bring it back into balance. This year, we didn’t have to add anything. As the wine’s custodian, the less you have to manipulate anything the better.
Q: What were the biggest challenges?
A: The biggest challenge this year was being patient with the longer harvest. In the previous four or five harvests, we’ve had a narrow window to get everything done. This year was like a huge engine revving up to go nowhere in a hurry. So, stepping back and letting everything happen on a normal timeline was actually a bit difficult. The upside was that we got to spend SO much time with all the ferments. For instance, what I’m emptying right now – the Cabernet Franc from the Tinaquaic Bajita vineyard – was able to ferment for a whole month before going to barrel. Also, with the cooler weather in October, we had no stuck ferments – everything went nice and smooth. For a winemaker, that’s a huge sigh of relief.
Q: How are the estate vineyards doing?
A: The Tinaquaic Alta vineyard is doing surprisingly well. We’re getting two and a half tons to the acre of dry-farmed Chardonnay! I’m convinced there’s an aquifer under it somewhere – either that or it’s a miracle. Tinaquaic Bajita is also doing great thanks to a new well. During the heat spell, we were able to give that little bit of water to the vines to keep wilting to a minimum. We’re starting in with some watering now as well to get a head start on next year’s crop. Should have even bigger buds and thicker canes because of it. As soon as we get some rain, we’re going to disc and plant nitrogen-fixing cover crops in both vineyards to keep things as sustainable as possible.
Q: Final thoughts on the 2018 harvest?
A: I think 2018 is going to be known across the board as being one of the most spectacular harvests that California – especially the Central Coast – has seen in a long time.
2014 Pinot Noir, Fe Ciega Vineyard
You can taste this wine in our tasting room, as it is now available on our Pinot Flight, offered at 7600 Foxen Canyon Road.
“Spice box, sappy herbs, bright acidity, rose petal, black cherry and currant notes all emerge from the 2014 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard. This medium-bodied, supple, layered and charming effort has fine tannin, bright acidity and a good finish, all suggesting it will evolve nicely. Note, this spent 17 months in 40% new French oak.”
“Reserved on the nose, this bottling by Billy Wathen and Dick Dore from their friend Rick Longoria’s vineyard offers cranberry, fennel, lavender and a touch of smoke on the nose. It’s delicate in its approach, with tightly woven strawberry, red plum and cranberry fruit lifted by dried sagebrush and more of that wildfire smoke.”
“This is also quite deeply pitched yet attractively cool with its admirably pure aromas of plum, violet and dark cherry where an interesting note of dried tangerine peel can be found. The energetic medium weight flavors possess a highly sophisticated mouth feel thanks primarily to the notably fine-grained tannins shaping the delicious, dusty and complex finale. This should benefit from a few years of bottle age yet it’s not so tightly wound that it couldn’t be enjoyed on the younger side if that’s your preference.”
Now until the end of the year, Foxen will also be donating $1.00 for every bottle of 2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills sold.
Anchor & Compass Club Price: $32.30
Master & Commander Club Price: $30.40
91 Points – Tasting Panel Magazine
90 Points – Wine Enthusiast
90 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate
Click Here to Purchase
Our first ever Starlane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
The Starlane Vineyard sits on a series of mesas (also known as “potreros” in Spanish) against the backdrop of the San Raphael Mountains, on the eastern edge of the Happy Canyon AVA. We source Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 28 at Starlane, which sits high on the property, and has a 30-35% slope with southerly exposure.
Anchor & Compass Club: $42.50
Master & Commander: $40.00
Lamb Chops with Moroccan BBQ Sauce
Moroccan BBQ Sauce
Click the links below to find more recipes to pair with the 2012 Cabernet Franc
It is a FOXEN tradition for Billy to prepare or provide lunch for our staff every Friday. Usually his lunches are simple, seasonal fare—such as locally made tamales, homemade soup or special sandwiches. Our staff looks forward to #foxen #fridaylunch, as Billy is always coming up with new and exciting recipes each week. Last Friday, to celebrate the spring asparagus picked that morning from his garden, Billy made a special asparagus soup to the delight of our entire staff. It has been suggested by some of our fans that we should share some of these recipes with you all. With that in mind, we thought we’d share Billy’s asparagus soup recipe here, which was adapted and inspired by a recipe posted by Once Upon A Chef.
We found that this delicious soup paired perfectly with our Estate Dry-Farmed 2012 Tinaquaic Vineyard Chardonnay. You can purchase our Tinaquaic Chardonnay in our tasting room or click here to purchase online.
Billy’s Asparagus Soup
- 2 Bunches of Asparagus (about 2-1/4 pounds)
- 5 Tablespoons of Butter
- 2 Medium Yellow Onions, Chopped
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, Peeled and Smashed
- 6 Cups of Chicken Broth
- 2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice from One Lemon
- 1/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Pound of Fresh Santa Barbara Spot Prawns or Fresh Shrimp* Peeled and Deveined
- Melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add prepared shrimp with a dash of salt and pepper and cook till done. Set aside.
- Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Cut the asparagus spears into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Add the chopped asparagus to the pot, along with the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender.
- Purée the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée the soup in batches, then return the soup to the pot.) If necessary, pass the soup through a fine sieve to remove the fibers (the best way is to place the sieve over a large bowl, then use a ladle to push the soup through in circular motions). Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the lemon juice and Parmesan. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lemon juice if desired (you may need up to a teaspoon more salt).
- Stir in the Shrimp that was cooked and set aside and let heat back up again in soup
- Ladle into bowls and pour yourself a glass of 2012 Tinaquaic Chardonnay and enjoy!