Robert Foley Vineyards Claret 1999
There are 400 cases of this blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Pride Mountain Vineyard's winemaker, Robert Foley. Sadly, most of the 1998 (which I reviewed in issue #141) was destroyed in a warehouse fire. The only bottles that survived were those from his personal cellar and a handful of bottles provided as samples to distributors. The opaque purple-colored 1999 is a seamless classic, offering a sweet perfume of coffee, mocha, graphite, black cherries, licorice, and cassis. The wine reveals sweet tannin, beautiful purity, and a gorgeous layered texture. It should drink well for 15+ years.
Dark in color, with a sleek body and tight beam of spicy, herb-laced cherry, plum and currant, this Cabernet blend firms up nicely on the long, persistent finish, where the tannins anchor the flavors. Shows great depth and complexity. Drink now through 2014. 500 cases made.
Deep medium ruby. Black fruits, game, animal fur and brown sugar on the nose. Thick, lush and seamless, with a high-pH mouth feel. Even sweeter and more open-knit than the equally outstanding Reserve Claret that Bob Foley makes for Pride Family Vineyards. Very long finish features fine, spreading tannins and currant and pepper notes.
Robert Foley VineyardsView all wine
Foley Vineyards' new cave and wine facility finished recently on Howell Mountain.
Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward...
Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.
In the Glass
Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.
Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.
Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.