Foppiano Estate Chardonnay 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
We weren’t surprised to see Foppiano’s zinfandels and petite sirahs performing well in our June issue tastings—those are varieties the Foppiano family considers their specialties. But it was surprising to find this bright, tense and fully saturated chardonnay from Foppiano, where a new winemaker came on board in 2015. Nova Perrill started his career at Mount Eden Vineyards; at Foppiano, he’s been allowing some of the lots to ferment and undergo malolactic fermentation on their own, then extending the barrel aging, presenting a 2017 with lemongrass tension and bright yellow flavors of nectarine and apple. It’s spicy and nutty, cool and fresh. Best Buy
Foppiano Vineyards is proud of their Italian heritage and deep, 120-year roots in the Russian River Valley. The story of Foppiano Vineyards is a family epic full of tradition, perseverance and contributions to the history of Sonoma County and the wine industry. Founded in 1896 by Giovanni Foppiano, Foppiano Vineyards is Sonoma’s oldest continually operated, family-owned winery. Their family has supplied northern California with wine for over a century surviving Prohibition. They believe that through the strength of family and a commitment to quality, their traditions will be maintained and thrive. The vision of the fifth generation of the Foppiano family guides our winery into the future while creating a world class wine program representative of their history.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Sonoma County, Foppiano Vineyards sits on a 160-acre estate in Russian River Valley, an American Viticulture Area Louis M. Foppiano helped to establish. Cooling morning fog and warm summer days created the ideal microclimate for grapes. Since 1896 their estate vineyards have produced ripe, expressive fruit, enabling our award-winning wines to speak for themselves, vintage after vintage. Their estate Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay vineyards thrive in the temperate climate of the Russian River Valley. Foppiano Vineyards’ premier location, combined with their foundation of core family values, has allowed them to produce quality wines for over 100 years. With a great respect for the earth, the family farms their land sustainably and provides the highest level of care and maintenance. It is their goal to ensure the vineyards continue to produce quality fruit for many years to come.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.