VOLUME 10, ISSUE 25
February 5, 2016
A small producer of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah and Chardonnay launched in 2009. The home vineyard is on Sonoma Mountain in the Sonoma Coast AVA. At 900 feet, the property sits above the fog line, allowing additional exposure to the sun throughout the growing season. Temperature inversion results in warmer nights and cooler days than vineyards at lower elevations. This allows fruit to ripen while lessening the need to leave the fruit hanging for extended periods. Being above the fog line, also helps keep fungus and mold at bay.
The winery is a partnership between Brent Bessire and Evan Pontoriero. Brent learned the wine business from Gary Farrell and time spent at Mauritson Family Winery. Evan has had a successful career in film, but spent his spare time learning about wine and eventually becoming a hobby winemaker. He developed a friendship with Brent after the two met at a number of wine events. The first vines were planted on Sonoma Mountain in 2007, and the first wine produced in 2009. The vineyard is directly above Gap's Crown Vineyard and about a mile to the north on the ridge line from Sun Chase Vineyard.
In mid-2014, a new winery and tasting room was established in Fulton where the owners took over Saralee Knude's Farm building that had been empty for 13 years. It was originally built for Fulton Valley Cellars in 1984 where Rod Berglund was the first winemaker in the building. George Davis from Porter Creek and Bob Mueller of Mueller Wines also made wine there. After Saralee closed Sonoma Grapevines, it was acquired by Robert Mondavi who was unable to acquire the proper permits to expand the facility into a large winery. The owners of Fogline were able to lease it for it's original use. They plan to expand the facility, renovate the tasting room and build a private tasting room.
The wines are available direct and from fine dining establishments in California.
Articles About Fogline Vineyards
2012 California Pinot Noir All-Americans Honorable Mention (9.17 12/26/2012)
More Sips of Pinot (9.16 12/10/2012)
Petaluma Gap: Cooling Wind is the Recipe for Fine Wine (10.1 12/11/2014)
Recent Sips of California Pinot Noir & Chardonnay (9.45 8/15/2014)
Russian River Valley Neighborhoods (9.45 8/15/2014)
Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir (9.34 12/17/2013)
2013 Fogline Vineyards Zephyr’s Block Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.3% alc., pH 3.23, TA 0.66, 145 cases, $38. Grapes are from the oldest plantings in Fogline’s Estate Vineyard. Old Wente and Dijon 76 clones. Aged up to 10 months in French oak. · Moderately light golden yellow and clear in the glass. A California styled Chardonnay with plenty of aromatic and flavor richness. Scents of baked apple, lemon, honey and sea breeze, lead to a discreetly concentrated palate of apple, pear, lemon and caramelized banana flavors. Plenty of juicy acidity balances the fruit load. An enjoyable wine, especially for those who prefer generous oak input. Score: 89. Reviewed August 15, 2014 ARTICLE »
2012 Fogline Vineyards Floodgate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.65, 295 cases, $42. Floodgate Vineyard is in the Middle Reach and organically farmed. Clones 667, 777, 115 and Pommard. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very aromatic with hi-tone scents of dark cherries, baking spices and dark caramel. Elegant, soft and smooth on the palate featuring a core of fresh cherry fruit augmented with flavors of spice and oak. Very delicate, although the wine picks up some intensity over time in the glass. Supple tannins make for easy drinking. Score: 89. Reviewed August 15, 2014 ARTICLE »
2012 Fogline Vineyards Sun Chase Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.44, TA 0.65, 195 cases, $42. Released October 2013. The 40-acre Sun Chase Vineyard is located where the Petaluma Wind Gap meets Sonoma Mountain on a southwestern facing hillside. This wine is sourced from hillside blocks above the fog line at 1200 to 1400 feet. Clones 667, 777. Aged in 33% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Uplifting aromas of forest floor, black cherry and sweet oak. Full-bodied, with broad flavors of black cherry and blackberry pulled into line with fine acidity and stout tannins. The fruit is very expressive, even sassy, and captivates all the way through a finish sporting plenty of drive and persistence. Score: 92. Reviewed August 15, 2014 ARTICLE »
2012 Fogline Vineyards Fogline Neighbors Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.60, 72 cases, $65. Released April 2014. A blend of the Sun Chase Vineyard and Fogline Vineyard, both on western face of Sonoma Mountain. Clones 667, 777, 115, Pommard, Mt. Eden and Swan. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. An array of aromas fill the glass including forest floor, black cherry and spicy oak. Vivid and juicy on the palate with great harmony and presence. The bold flavors of raspberry, cherry, and boysenberry are accented with a touch of spice and earthbound flora. The toothsome tannins are well integrated and the finish is long and lush. Score: 92. Reviewed August 15, 2014 ARTICLE »
2012 Fogline Vineyards Hillside Block Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.58, 95 cases, $65. Released October 2013. The first single vineyard Pinot Noir from the estate Fogline Vineyard located in the Petaluma Gap region on a ridge on Sonoma Mountain. Elevation is 850 feet and fog runs up to the boundary of the lowest elevation blocks. Clones 115, Pommard, Swan and Mt. Eden. Aged in 33% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Delicate aromas of Bing cherry, spice and rose petal. Plenty of grip and intensity on the palate that features ripe cherry fruit accented with spice and subtle oak. Very satisfying, with a smooth texture, good tannic sinew, and a generous finish. Score: 91. Reviewed August 15, 2014 ARTICLE »
2011 Fogline Vineyards Floodgate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.68, 195 cases, $38. Released April 2013. From an established and respected vineyard located just off River Road in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley. Clones 667, 777, 115 and Pommard. Aged in 30% new French oak barrels. A commercial strain of malolactic bacteria is used to produce low biogenic amines in the finished wine. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Very aromatic upon opening with bright aromas of Bing cherry and spice. Oak tends to surface more prominently over time in the glass. The mid palate is lush with deep red cherry and cola flavor and noticeable oak in the background. Fruit-driven with impressive richness, this wine displays balanced firm tannins and a good cut of acidity on the finish which leaves some oak in its wake. Score: 88. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »
2011 Fogline Vineyard Sun Chase Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.70, 195cases, $42. Released October 2012. This 40- acre vineyard is situated at 900 to 1400 foot elevation on Sonoma Mountain in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast. Clones 667 and 777. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromatically alive with dark berry, spiced plum and wooded forest aromas. Well-endowed with prodigious black cherry, black currant, blackberry and blueberry fruits typical of 667 and 777, accented with a touch of spice. The tannins are muscular but well matched to the sappy fruit, and the lingering finish offers a pleasing riff of acidity. Somewhat brooding at this stage, this wine will benefit from further cellaring. Score: 89. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »
2010 Fogline Vineyards Floodgate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.65, 135 cases, $38. Vineyard is located in Middle Reach of Russian River Valley. Clones 115, 666, 777 and Pommard. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Smooth, spicy and sexy, with seductive aromas of dusty, dark cherries, graham and toast. A cherry bombast that is luscious yet refined and silky with complimentary hints of spice and cola. Nicely balanced with supple tannins and good staying power on the finish. The pedigree of this established vineyard shows through. A high-collared, impressive offering. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 Fogline Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.35, TA 0.67, 80 cases, $42. Released fall 2011. Sourced from the Sun Chase Vineyard on the western slope of Sonoma Mountain at 1200 to 1400 feet elevation in the Petaluma Gap. Clones 667 and 777. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Complex nose offering many scents that come and go including black cherries, plum sauce, strawberries, pipe smoke, dark chocolate, herbs, dusty earth and a floral note. Middleweight cherry-driven flavor with a hint of spice, dried herbs, tobacco and even peach. Elegant, with soft tannins and respectable acidity, finishing with a citrusy cherry flavor. An interesting chameleon of a wine, but a bit strange in its combination of aromas and flavors. Good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »
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