Posts Tagged ‘Chardonnay

18
Apr
11

a day at failla

Our trip to Wine Country began early Friday morning as we checked out of our hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf and into an estate car back to the airport to pick up the rental car (one of the limitations of booking with United Miles). From there it was a fairly easy drive over the Bay Bridge and up I80 through Oakland, with a quick job over to 29. We stayed at the new Best Western Ivy Hotel at the northern end of Napa. After we checked in and got settled we headed to our first winery of the trip: Failla. This a beautiful little winery nestled at the base of the mountains in the Northeastern corner of St. Helena off the Silverado Trail.When we arrived we were greeted like old friends. On the walls of the entry way stood proud but empty reminders of festive holiday parties past, including old Failla Jordan labels (would have loved to have been able try one of those Syrahs!). We were taken into what will eventually be the living room of the family home once the new caves and tasting rooms are completed just up the hill. The feeling was very warm and cozy with a large river rock fireplace and a decidedly Adirondack feel!


The river rock fire place.


A view if the porch.

We were to be joined by one other couple, so while we waited we were poured some of their 2009 Sonoma Coast Chard, which was just lovely with nice pear notes and a lovely and crisp acidic finish. Since Erhen Jordan spent quite a bit of time making wine in Rhone, his wines are decidedly Old World in personality with a nice balance of New World terroir. We were also treated to a taste of their very limited production (185 cases) 2009 Edna Valley Viognier, Alban Vineyard, of which the French Laundry gets but one case! It had a wonderfully floral nose and bright yet round palate and clean finish. I would have bought a bottle if they had any! Once the other couple arrived we got to revisit the Chard and tasted two Pinots and a Syrah.


The Chard and Viognier.

Both of the Pinots were exceptional. The first to be tasted was the 2009 Sonoma Stage that had a nose of autumn leaf and spice, with a rich, lush and spicy palate. The tannins were silky smooth and the finish lingered on like a fond memory of camping on a brisk fall weekend. The second Pinot we tasted (and the one we brought home) was the 2007 Peay Vineyard, which hails from the Sonoma Coast near Mendocino. The nose was ripe with spiced cherries and hints of leafy smoke. The mouth was treated to a lush palate of red fruits and velvety tannins and a finish that brings tart cranberry and crisp strawberry flavours. The last wine we tasted was the 2009 Phoenix Ranch Syrah, which I absolutely loved with it’s big warm nose of spiced dark fruits and sweet tobacco leaf and rich palate of plum and blackberries, aggressive tannins and velvety chocolate finish.


The tasting line up.


The spoils of tasting.


Sipping the Peay Vineyard pool side.


The Estate Chardonnay enjoyed at home.

If ever there was a way to kick off a weekend in wine country this was definitely it and we can’t wait to return. Not only to taste more of Failla’s wonderful wines but also see the new caves and perhaps sit on the inviting porch and sip some vino in the crisp and clean St. Helena air. Visit them online at Failla Wines

11
Apr
11

2007 Fog Crest Estate Bottled Chardonnay

So the first bottle to be cracked is one of the 2007 Fog Crest chards.
Beautiful bright nose full of lovely tropical fruits hints of hazel nut, oak and cool stoney minerality. The mouth is treated to more crisp yellow fruit flavors with more touches of oak and hazel nut. The finish is long and structured with some warm peach notes, lovely acidity and minerality.
 
I thought I prefered the bigger rounder whites but this one left me breathless. The balance of lush fleshy fruits and the cooler nuances of the stoney minerality, that recalls memories of sitting stream side just after a spring rain, and the crisp acidity really made me rethink what my palate really wanted. This chard is an old world style for the new world lover and vice vera. There is just enough of the toasty oak and hazelnut notes to keep the balance and structure in near perfect harmony. This first of the two bottles we brought back was paired with finger foods such as spinach and artichoke dip, cheese quesadillas and loaded fries with cheese and giardiniera. The toasty elements complimented the creamy elements of the food, while the minerality and acidity offered a nice contrast to the spicier elements. The second bottle was paired with blackened tilapia and sweet potato mash and again the warm toasty notes complimented while the acidity and structure brought contrast.

05
Apr
11

Fog crest vineyards

The Highlight of the weekend for us, hands down, was Fog Crest, sitting on the hill off Occidental Road in the Russian River Valley! After being stopped by a fill-in postal worker wanting a signature for a package, we continued down a gravel drive that wound its way through the vineyards.


There we were greeted by Jim Manoogian, one half of the husband/wife owner/vintners team! It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 70’s and barely a cloud in the sky! He started us of with the first of two Chards and then walked us down to the vines where the chard grapes are grown and bud break was in full force.

We tasted both the 2007 Laguna West and 2007 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay. The Laguna West was a richer and rounder chard with lush pear falvours intermingled with hints of peach and baking spices that led into a nice mild and toasty hazelnut finish with a pleasant touch of crisp acidity. The Estate Vineyard chard was a bit more old world in style exhibiting lemon floral and soft hazelnut aromas on the nose that led into a palate of crisp apple and citrus notes on a cool base of minerality and nuanced oak flavours. The finish was warm and bright with just the right amount of cool acidity

We then headed back to the barrel room to taste the pinots. With glasses in hand Jim lead us over to the upper estate pinot vines, where he talked about their pruning process and how they will eventually drop double buds.

Here we tasted the 2008 Laguna West Pinot Noir that welcomed you in with a warm and spicy nose with notes of dark and bright cherry cola. The palate was rich and smooth with a base of silky smooth tannins supporting a chorus of ripe red berry fruit flavours accompanied by nuances of anise and lush plum. The finish added more dark fruit and cola flavours that tapered slowly off with light acidity.

Once we were hooked Jim then capped off our tour with a barrel tasting, or thieving as he called it! My very first! He treated us to a preview of their 2010 Upper Estate Pinot Noir that was barreled last October. Though it was still young with lots of green notes you could tell that this was going to develop into a very lush and complex wine as it was already exhibiting the signature berry flavours and soft structure of the 08 Laguna West.

After all was said and done we walked away with two bottles each of the 07 Estate Chard and the 08 Laguna West Pinot and I guarantee we will be ordering more! If you get a chance I highly recommend that you try to visit them! http://www.fogcrestvineyard.com/