2010 Foley Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills
Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery ranks as one of my top 10 Santa Barbara County wineries. Why? Their wines are flat out delicious! There are three primary reasons.
First, the cool-climate of the Sta. Rita Hills brings in early-morning and late-evening fog. This occurs through the east-west running traverse, located between the low-lying mountain range. The ocean air cools down the well-cared-for vines that spend the day soaking up the beautiful and warm California, summer sunshine.
Secondly, Bill Foley instilled a wine-making philosophy centered around Burgundian techniques that focused on the attributes of the individual vineyard. The Foley team has sub-divided vineyards into 59 micro-blocks that are individually farmed, harvested and vinified. Lastly, the Sta. Rita Hills AVA has an array of loamy soils derived from marine-based deposits, alluvium and sand. These factors combine to create an ideal growing region for the Chardonnay grape to thrive.
This wine spent 17 months in 40% New French Oak barrels; however it’s not overly oaked. It also underwent malolactic fermentation, resulting in a Chardonnay that has a soft buttery flavor. However, anyone can make a buttery, oaky Chardonnay. What makes this Foley Chard so special is the winemaker’s ability to bring out some great fruit. I tasted pear and peach, along with tropical grapefruit.
As you’d expect for a Santa Barbara County wine, the alcohol level is high at 14.3% but it is quite balanced. The texture and finish are creamy. There’s a decent amount of acidity, making it a perfect dinner wine. It also tastes great alone, which for me is a sign of a well-made wine. Before, during and after dinner, it just drinks well. With summer produce so prevalent, the tropical fruit flavor and acidity also will pair nicely with vegetarian dishes, including asparagus.
Lorna Kreutz-Duggan took over the reigns as head winemaker this year, after three years as assistant winemaker. She is carrying on the Foley tradition of sustainable farming.