Foley Johnson Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2013
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Foley Johnson 2013 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
UNIT SIZE: 750.00 ml
VARIETAL: Pinot Noir
COUNTRY: United States
GRAPE: Pinot Noir
APPELLATION: Santa Rita Hills
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 14.50%
The 2012 and 2013 vintages of this wine mark two consecutive stunning vintages with delicious, layered and complex fruit. A very nice and expressive, ripe 100% Pinot Noir made by winemaker Leslie Mead Renaud. She believes that this vintage is quite similar to 2012 in that the weather was ideal and each vintage yielded quite abundant fruit. This is one of the ultimate signature wines from Bill Foley and his vast and luxurious wine holdings. Foley has one of the most impressive business and winery industry backgrounds. He first began in the wine business purchasing Lincourt Vineyards in 1996 and then founded Foley Wine Estates in the Santa Rita Hills. He has since purchased Chalk Hill Winery, Merus, Three Rivers, Firestone, Sawyer Winery, Kuleto Estate and has extensive holdings in New Zealand. He is also Chairman of two Fortune 500 Companies, which include Title Insurance and global processing for credit card issuers. A big and bold Pinot Noir from the Rancho Santa Rosa East and West Blocks of the Santa Rita Hills. It spent 15 months in French oak, 30% of which is new. Lots of depth and well structured, with natural richness. It is a 100% Pinot that is built for aging and long term enjoyment. A nice sip of black cherries, pomegranate, blueberries, cranberry, crushed red flowers and brown sugar with touches of blackberry earth and spice. Pair with sesame encrusted Ahi Tuna with ginger, Scallops, Mussels Marinara, Shrimp Fra Diavolo and Veal Milanese. Only 1,186 cases were produced.
By Foley Johnson
2013 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills
The 2013 vintage was quite abundant due to the great weather, with mild rain during the first part of spring and only a few incidents of frost before bud break. Conditions remained ideal from bloom to set only minimally burdened by the typical afternoon winds that sweep through Sta. Rita Hills. The yields were high in quality and quantity, emulating the 2012 vintage.
The Rancho Santa Rosa East and West Blocks are located in the Sta. Rita Hills region of Santa Barbara County. Climbing from 500 to 1,000 feet above sea level, these hilly sites are treated as a series of individual micro-vineyards delineated by soil, exposure, elevation, grade, rootstock and clones. The well-draining soils and cool maritime climate make this a perfect spot for Pinot Noir. This Pinot shows the pure fruit and vibrancy characteristic of its cool climate origins. The fruit was hand-picked and hand-sorted in the vineyard in the cool morning hours to preserve the aromatics. The clusters were then de-stemmed with no crushing. The must was cold-soaked in open-top fermenters for four days and then allowed to ferment with native yeast. The wine was aged in French Oak Barrels, 30% new, for 15 months.
This 2013 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir has classic varietal expression of Pinot Noir grown in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. This wine has juicy fruit notes of boysenberry and raspberry jam followed by vibrant cherry cola and caramelized sugar. The French Oak barrels add great structure and length to the lush fruit profile. This wonderful medium bodied Pinot pairs perfectly with just about anything, but Italian food really enhances its flavors.
Appellation: Sta. Rita Hills
Vineyard: Rancho Santa Rosa East and West Blocks
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Aging: 15 Months in French Oak Barrels (20% new)
Production: 1,186 Cases
TA: 6.3 g/L
Bottling Date: March 12, 2015
Winemaker - Leslie Mead Renaud
Leslie Mead Renaud was born in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1965. Her father was an officer in the Navy, so the family moved around a fair bit during her early childhood. When Leslie was 10 her father was stationed in Honolulu, where he subsequently retired. After high school, she worked as a SCUBA diving instructor until she made the decision to return to the mainland and pursue her college degree. Leslie graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources, with an emphasis in aquatic resource management. After school her appreciation for nature led to several years of working for the Forest Service in Oregon, hooting for spotted owls in the forests of Mt. Hood. Next she relocated to California where she worked as an urban forester with PG&E. Leslie’s career path took a significant turn when she applied for a position as a lab technician at Ironstone Vineyards in Calaveras County. She quickly realized the wine industry’s combination of science and artistry was perfectly suited to her own talents and interests. Committing to a career in winemaking, Leslie moved to Sonoma County to be in the heart of the wine country. There she worked at Clos du Bois, Sonoma Creek Winery, and Hans Fahden Vineyards, adding to her knowledge base and honing her skills. She later moved to Santa Cruz and became the production manager at Bonny Doon Winery. In 2005 she joined Talley Vineyards as an enologist, quickly moving up to Assistant Winemaker, and then was promoted to Winemaker in January of 2007. She joined the Foley Wine Group in August of 2010, assuming her current duties as Winemaker for both Lincourt Vineyards and Foley Estate. Leslie has served as the Chairperson for the World of Pinot Noir, a Central Coast event. She is constantly seeking to expand her knowledge of wines and winemaking, which has led to her enrollment in the WSET Diploma Program. Leslie is a fan of the SF 49ers and Peter Gabriel, has sky dived (once), and loves to travel. She enjoys great food (both eating and cooking), extremely cold martinis, dogs (she has two at the moment), the outdoors, motorcycles, and convertibles. Leslie and her husband Tim currently live in Windsor.
[Information provided by J.H.N.]
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.