All in all these are a fascinating wines, with a lot to like here. There is definitely the feeling that not necessarily inconsequential tweaks are being made to the wines, tweaks that let these wines speak with more of a Santa Cruz voice than ever before. To my mind that's a decidedly good thing, because the wines of this region, and of winemakers like Thomas Fogarty, deserve a bigger, broader audience. These are compelling wines. They are tough to make, and perhaps retain a bit that toughness as part of their makeup. But at the same time there is so much love required to keep doing this year in and year out that some of that love can't help but make it into the bottle.
Yeah, that may be a little cheesy, but before you laugh try some of the wines, then get back to me.
Lightly smoky on the nose in a restrained style, tight, smells lightly floral with mineral earth notes and hints of Asian pear. Focused in the mouth and much leaner and crisper than expected. This is downright snappy and very clear on the palate with a growing sweetness of ripe fruit on the backend. There’s a little hint of ripe pineapple and nice length that leads to a firm and stony finish with some sweetness of wood on the finale. 90pts
A little smoke and chalk on the nose is layered over dried orchard fruit. On entry this shows restrain and a fairly Burgundian style with a cool, taut mouthfeel light stone and floral inner mouth perfumes with lovely core of dry pear and citrus fruit. The finish is quite aromatic with more floral notes. A well built Chardonnay that would certainly benefit from being served with food today. 91pts
A bit more obvious oak is evident here revealed through sweet hints of vanilla and spice over citrus and peach fruits. On the palate this is kind of fabulous, bright, lean and clear yet quite mouth filling with lovely ripe fruit and fine acidity lending this rather large scaled wine a linear, focused feel. This finishes very long and stony with great intensity of ripe fruit balanced by zesty acidity very long. 94pts
Riper and sweeter on the nose with plenty of pear fruit in a style that is bit more typical of California Chardonnay than the rest of the line-up. This is broad in the mouth and richer than other Fogarty Chardonnay's without quite being rich, a bit more obvious oak appears on the palate as well with a hint of almost gingery spice, good length, still quite clear with very attractive fruit. 92pts
Slight herbal on the nose with a green lime zest sort of note. A little leesy and then a little minty. On entry this is both tense and ripe offering a very interesting blend of ripe fruit and savory notes that are deep and complex on the palate with a reappearance of that a little minty thing. Finishes long with lots of ripe Chardonnay fruit, though a touch sticky and sweet from the alcohol. 90pts
Sweet, waxy, and spicy, with hints of cinnamon, dried orange peel and dried peach all topped with pressed flowers. On the palate this is dry and lightly tannic, really a lovely wine, clean and firm with late arriving pear and lemon pith fruit all leading to a dry firm finish with lovely heirloom apple notes and a nice hint of umami on the finale. 89ts
A bit minty and spicy, with nice soil tones, a hint of tar and some spicy red fruit on the nose. The palate is round and fairly opulent with a smooth texture, nice ripe tannins, feeling just a bit modest early on before the meaty, spicy cherry fruit kicks in on the mid-palate accompanied by late-arriving inner mouth perfume al followed by a smooth, modest finish finish which shows just a hint of heat. 89pts
Spicy, wild, and savory on the nose with oak is just a touch obvious, all topped with a light leafiness. In the mouth this is fabulously cool, crisp compact and focused offering lovely purity in the style of a village wine from Burgundy. While ethereal, there is lovely ripeness here, delicacy yes, but also fine balance. Just a simple, clean and fresh expression that delivers subtle raspberry fruit in an energetic package. Atypical but lovely. 89pts
Perfumed on the nose with lots of spice and herbal notes framing rich fruit that shows a bit of black cherry hidden under the cranberry and lingonberry aromas. Really intense aromatics. This is silky and rich with a really fabulous texture that’s got sinewy power yet remains totally transparent on the palate. The dark fruit, mineral,herb, laurel, and wood toast flavors are all deftly woven into the fruit and wrapped up with bright integrated acidity that extends the elegant finish. 94pts
Ripe meaty cherry fruit, fruit greets the nose along with a little licorice-like, fennel quality and nuanced spicy, turmeric and wood spice notes. On entry this is almost supple with plenty of ripe fruit and slightly powdery tannins that again offer a lovely texture though with slightly less tension in the mouth than the Windy Hill. You really get a sense of super-ripe fruit tannins here and that that black spice accent from the nose appears on the palate as well. This is a little tight on the finish which shows good length, and nice density without being weighty. 91pts
Very interesting on the nose with its medicinal, sweet, licorice root aromas that contrast with the lightly waxy red cherry fruit. there is a slightly medicinal, rather Serralunga-like camphor note here. Delicate and silky on the palate with a nice tannic freshness, this lacks some depth of fruit, and the nice slightly chewy tannins dominate the surprisingly long finish but it certainly smells, tastes and feels like nebbiolo. 87pts
63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 17% Merlot
Fairly oaky on the nose and full of black spicy aromas, sweet toast, a bit of caramel, and a hint of rye bread. This is nicely and noticeably high acid on entry with a young feel and an early rush of fresh if dark fruit. Theres a nice seamless texture with all the ripeness and power of california Cabernet but not much fat. This is rather intense and brawny, if sinewy, with rather dark and earthy fruit on the spicy finish that shows a whisper of heat. Spicy finish. 91pts
Beautiful lychee and exotic tea aromas greet the nose along with classic honeysuckle, and ripe fruit notes. In the mouth this is fairly rich but focused, with lovely bright fruit in a dry yet soft style. This exhibits a fine blend of tension and ripeness and opens nicely on the really long finish, which reveals lovely floral, citrus and light lychee notes. Retains a certain delicacy on the palate which I like, particularly when paired with such bright aromatics. 90pts