Wine Enthusiast has honored us once again with amazing scores and reviews for our Foxen Pinot Noirs and Whites. We are so humbled and proud of how well received and loved our wines are. Thank you Foxen friends and family for all your support, and thanks to the Wine Enthusiast for such beautiful words and scores for our wines!
November 2013 Issue:
This issue highlights our Pinot Noirs, of our 9 vineyard designates 7 scored beautifully. We are particularly excited about how the Fe Ciega and the Bien Nacido Pinots were rated and written up.
94 Points Foxen 2011 Fe Ciega Vineyard Pinot Noir
An exciting wine, dry and silky with balanced restraint overall, the power is evident in the controlled explosion of cherries, currants and cola, wrapped in firm, smooth tannins. A great success, and worthy of extended cellaring. Begin to drink this beauty after 2018.
93 Points Foxen 2011 Block 43 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir
A great success, especially given the difficulties of the vintage. With a modest alcohol reading of 13.8% by volume, it’s exuberantly ripe in cherries and umami-filled red currants, with oak adding just the right notes of toast. Delicious now, but this is a Pinot that wants some age.
92 Points Foxen 2011 Block 8 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir
These’s a severity of acids and tannins that limits this Pinot’s immediate enjoyment. It feels tight and hard, despite a core of black and red cherries and the sweetness of toasty oak. All indications point to the cellar. Give it 6-7 years and could still be going strong after 2020.
92 Points Foxen 2011 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir
Enormously rich, showing cola, black cherry pie filling and even some dark chocolate notes. There’s a soft sweetness of the fruit and oak that suggests drinking this lovely wine now. You can’t go wrong with a grilled steak, or carne asada.
92 Points Foxen 2011 Sea Smoke Vineyard Pinot Noir
A streak of bright acidity cuts through the ripe red cherry, currant and cola flavors of this full-bodied, young Pinot Noir. It’s aggressive and immature now, with the oak unintegrated with the primary fruit, but has a great future. Give it a minimum of six years in the cellar to knit together.
89 Points Foxen 2011 John Sebastiano Vinedard Pinot Noir
The most forward and drinkable of Foxen’s many new 2011 Pinot Noirs. It’s soft and juicy with raspberries and cherry flavors, plus subtleties of cola, sauteed wild mushrooms and sweet, toasty sandalwood. A pretty wine that’s perfect with lamb.
December 2013 Issue:
The upcoming December issue focuses on whites, very appropriately, and we are proud to announce that we have the top two Chardonnays, the top Chenin Blanc, and our Sauvignon Blanc comes in at number three for the state of California. It has been a very good year for us and it’s only getting better.
92 Points Foxen 2012 Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU Chardonnay
Foxen’s UU bottling is practically an insurance policy for great Chardonnay in any vintage. With 2012, the winery was granted a balanced, even harvest, with the resulting wine showing brisk acidity and subtle fruit and mineral flavors, touched with sweet oak. It defines a cool-climate style of Chardonnay in a most delicious way.
92 Points Foxen 2012 Tinaquaic Vineyard Chardonnay
With mouthwatering acidity, a stony minerality, modes alcohol and complex peach, green apple and tropical fruit flavors, this Chardonnay shows a Burgundian approach despite its California origins. Bone dry, it has a precise, chiseled elegance.
91 Points Foxen 2012 Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard Old Vines Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is a difficult variety to get right in California, but few wineries do it better than Foxen. They have a solid track record, going back for years, of wrestling the wine’s difficulties into elegant submission. With the 2012 vintage, Foxen has crafted one of their best ever. It’s dry, moderate in alcohol and crisp in acidity, with complex peach, citrus, green apple, wax bean and herb flavors.
90 Points Foxen 2012 7200 Vogelzang Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
This bottling by Foxen has been consistent over the years in producing a wine of great varietal purity. The 2012 vintage is dry, crisply mouthwatering wine with gooseberry, grapefruit and peach flavors. Goat cheese comes to mind as the ideal pairing, perhaps in a salad of bitter greens and grapefruits.
We’ve been suspecting for the past week that the Fall weather may have arrived here on the Central Coast, bringing with it chilly mornings, crisp air, and the need for a few extra layers. We didn’t have any idea how cold it was until one of our cellar workers noticed some white crystals developing on his fingernails. Upon closer inspection the team realized that they were Tartrate Crystals!
What are Tartrate Crystals?
“Tartrates, affectionately known by industry professionals as “wine diamonds,” are tiny, crystalline deposits that occur in wines when potassium and tartaric acid, both naturally occurring products of grapes, bind together to form a crystal. Tartrates are scientifically known as potassium bitartrate, which is the same thing as cream of tartar used in cooking. They are completely harmless and natural. The formation of wine diamonds is less common in red wines, as their level of tartaric acid is lower, and crystals tend to fall out naturally during the longer barrel-aging process.” – Ronn Wiegand, Master of Wine/Master Sommelier
So why do Tartrates form and why were they on our crews fingers on the sorting line? Tartrates, by nature, are a normal byproduct of wine as it ages, but if the wine is exposed to temperatures below 40°F these crystalline structures will form as well. With the onset of the colder weather, more Tartrates have been forming on the machinery, fermentation tanks, hoses, as well as the crew’s fingers.
The next big questions are “how do you keep Tartrates from forming” and “do they have a negative effect on the wine?”
One technique that winemakers will use is a process called cold stabilization. What winemakers will do is cool the wine down anywhere from 28-40°F for a number of days just before bottling the wine. This process is purely for aesthetics in the hope that the wine diamonds won’t form later on down the road. Here at Foxen we cold stabilize our whites at 30-32°F for 2-3 weeks.
To answer the second question, no, Tartrates have no negative effect on the wine itself. Many would argue that the presence of Tartrates in older vintages is a sign of quality wine, indicating that the wine was not over processed. Another bonus is the crystals do not impose any flavor on the wine as well.
So everything on our end has been done to prevent the crystals from forming, what can you do at home? Store your wines in moderate temperatures ranging from 55-60°F and if serving a delicate white, chill it down to 45-48°F just before serving and avoid keeping them in a refrigerator that gets below 44°F.
Hope you enjoyed these fun facts, and now you can impress your friends and family the next time you come across these pretty, little wine diamonds.
It’s a cold morning out on the canyon. The Autumn weather has definitely arrived. A thick fog blankets the landscape. Oaks are shadowy figures and the vines become pathways leading into the unknown. The winery is quiet. The vineyard crew are picking this morning and Joe and Bingo are silently working on punch downs, while Billy & David make preparations for the coming day. The quiet is suddenly disturbed by forklifts starting up. There is an urgency in the movement of the machines loading bins onto the truck. Fruit is coming in today, the first of the Syrah from Williamson-Dore Vineyard and Pinot Noir from Riverbench Vineyard.
It’s quiet again now and the sun is just starting to break through the fog. The anticipation of a big day can be felt on the crush pad. We’re moving into the next phase of Harvest. So far our sorting tables, fermentation tanks, press and barrels have been overloaded with Pinot Noir. We have been busy so far, and it’s only going to get busier as the Rhones and soon the Bordeauxs begin to become ready for picking.
Bodies and minds are tired. Hands are chapped and stained with juice and dirt. Fleeces layered to fend off the chill of the Fall morning. These quiet moments will be the last of the day. Once the fruit arrives all that is forgotten and the fruit becomes all that matters. The fruit is all that matters this time of year, and it’s worth it.
Have you ever wondered where all the lees and sediments in the bottom of wine barrels go? No? Well, we bet you’re wondering now!
Here at Foxen we take the leftover yeast, grape skins, and other sediments that come out of our barrels after being cleaned and we spread them in our adjoining Rancho Tinaquaic field. The barrel sediments provide nutrients for the soil, plant life and even the local fauna!
Yesterday morning our field was invaded not only by an elderly Coyote, but three Doe, and a huge flock of wild Turkeys! They all came for one thing, the wine sediments that we spread in the field! It’s incredible to be surrounded by so much wildlife out here in the canyon and to be able to give back to the environment in more than one way!
Good morning Foxen family! We’re putting on our first sweepstakes! Time to get creative and get pinning! If you have any questions feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have fun and we can’t wait to see what you all come up with!
Food & Wine Magazine has compiled a list of 75 must visit wineries in California for their October 2013 issue, and we are proud to announce that Foxen has been selected as one of those wineries. We are incredibly humbled and excited by this recognition. It’s amazing to think that this all started with two, passionate friends in 1985 at a shack in Foxen Canyon. We could not have made it this far without the continued support of our fans, wine club members, and our fellow industry friends referring so many people to us. So thank you everyone for believing in us and allowing us to do what we love most!
We would also like to congratulate our fellow Santa Barbara County wineries that were named as well! Congratulations to Stolpman, Qupe, Brewer-Clifton, Beckman, Au Bon Climat, Kunin, Palmina, Margerum, Sanford, and Loring! We are proud of all of Santa Barbara County and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
The issue is currently on newsstands, but if you can’t wait that long you can read the article here.
Thanks again everyone and cheers!
The theme for the week was definitely Pinot Noir. All week we had fruit coming in from Solomon Hills, Riverbench, La Encantada, Bien Nacido Blocks 8 & 43, Melville, and Julia’s Vineyard! And we’re not done yet! Billy is expecting us to get in over 40 tons of Pinot Noir in the coming two weeks.
With all the fruit that has been coming in we’ve been running out of room in our fermenters. On Wednesday and Thursday the crew emptied tanks by draining the free run juice by gravity, then the remaining fruit was gently pressed and put to barrels over the next few days. The barrels were then sent into the barrel room to continue secondary fermentation and aging. This opened up the needed fermenter space for the fruit that came in on Friday and Saturday from Julia’s, Melville, the first half of Bien Nacido Block 43, La Encantada, and Bien Nacido Block 8 (specifically Pinot Clone 2A).
Our hands are full of fermenting Pinot juice and we’re loving it!
Billy also reports that “Syrah is looming on the horizon as well as Bien Nacido Block UU Chardonnay!” So look forward to more Rhone reports in the future!
We received our allotments from Julia’s Vineyard, Melville Vineyard, as well as half of the fruit off of Block 43 at Bien Nacido Vineyard.
Billy said the fruit is all “great quality” and the “crew did a great job today!”
The Julia’s fruit came in from the B3 Block and is 100% Pommard clone. Off the truck the clusters weighed in at 6 tons! The crew de-stemmed by hand and the clean berries went into open top fermenters.
We received our 2 ton allotment from Melville Vineyard today from the Estate C Block and the berries are Clones 115 & 777. These clusters were also sorted by hand and went into the fermenters 100% whole berry de-stemmed to await pressing.
Last but not least is our Clone 667 Pinot Noir from Block 43 at Bien Nacido. The clusters weighed in at 6 tons and are looking great . We still have half of Block 43 left to pick, so hopes are high for this vineyard designate in the coming years. Just like the Julia’s and Melville Pinot, the Block 43 berries were de-stemmed by hand and went into our open top fermenters.
Billy is happy with how the Harvest is going so far and is pleased with how well and hard the crew is working. Looks like the 2013 Vintage is shaping up to be a beautiful one! Cheers!