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Foxen Block UU Bien Nacido Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
  • WE94
13.4% ABV
  • RP90
  • TP93
  • RP92
  • WE92
  • W&S91
  • RP90
  • WE93
  • RP92
  • W&S90
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13.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Foxen's Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU is one of the quirkiest California Chardonnays readers will come across. The plant material here is Chardonnay grafted onto own-rooted Riesling rootstock that was originally planted in the early 1970s. Oddly enough, this wine often shows distinctly tropical, Riesling-inflected notes, as it does again in 2014. White peach, ash, slate, pear and crushed rocks show superb energy allied to power in a Chardonnay with searing intensity, fabulous balance and tons of personality.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
Intriguing lemongrass, Asian pear, chamomile, jasmine and pink grapefruit aromas arise on the nose of this dynamic single-block bottling. Tons of energy show on the sip, which is light and yet offers lots of intriguing flavors, from white sesame and chalk to lime peels and grippy yellow grapefruit pithiness. Editors' Choice.
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Foxen

Foxen Vineyard

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Foxen Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
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Bill Wathen and Dick Dore have been making wine together since 1985, when they founded Foxen Winery & Vineyard at the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in northern Santa Barbara County. Since that time, their dedication has remained the same - the creation of very small production, sustainably-farmed, vineyard-focused wines using a "minimalist" approach to winemaking. Foxen is named in memory of William Benjamin Foxen, an English sea captain and Dick's great-great grandfather, who came to Santa Barbara in the early 1800s and purchased the Rancho Tinaquaic. Captain Foxen adopted the distinctive "anchor" as his cattle brand, which became the trademark of the winery. Foxen is at home on the history Rancho Tinaquaic with its solar-powered winery, tasting room and 7200 "shack."

Santa Maria Valley

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A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.

Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

MSE404775_2015 Item# 168340