With several wines in each region earning recent acclaims, there are plenty of critics’ picks to try during your upcoming visit to wine country. But we also know every estate has its sleeper picks. You know what we’re talking about — those lesser-known varietals and limited release blends that make you wonder “How have I not tried this before?” or “Where have you been hiding this?”
So, in this installment of What to Taste This Weekend, here are our top choices for the best critics’ picks and sleeper wines to try at various FFWS tasting rooms this weekend.
FOLEY ESTATES | 6121 E HIGHWAY 246, LOMPOC, CA
Critics’ Pick: 2014 Foley Estates Pinot Noir, T Anchor Ranch (91pts, Wine Enthusiast)
“Plump and somewhat jammy flavors of vanilla and baked cherry meet with soft clove dust on the nose of this bottling by the Foley family. The palate is tight in bright acidity, with flavors of red plum and cracked pepper that linger long on the finish.” — Wine Enthusiast
Sleeper Pick: 2014 Foley Estates T-Anchor Ranch Chardonnay
For the ultimate summer time wine, do not miss the 2014 T-Anchor Ranch Chardonnay. The tasting room at Foley Estates says that this is the perfect representation of the Sta. Rita Hills; lemon zest, pineapple and white flower dance around your pallet before melting away to a hint of vanilla latte! This is a bottle to sit and escape with.
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CHALK HILL ESTATE | 10300 CHALK HILL ROAD, HEALDSBURG, CA
Critics’ Pick: 2016 Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc (93pts, Wine Enthusiast)
“This is floral and beguiling on the nose. It was blended with 11% Sauvignon Gris and 6% Sauvignon Musque, fermented and aged in both French oak and stainless steel drums. Creamy and lush on the palate, the medium body is integrated and complex in highlights of apricot, lime and peach.” -V.B., Wine Enthusiast
Sleeper Pick: 2014 Chalk Hill Estate Chairman’s Reserve Carmenère
The Carmenère is a much less known varietal; in fact, it’s one of the long lost Bordeaux varietals that almost went extinct! Chalk HIll only produced 200 cases, but that didn’t stop their 2014 Chairman’s Reserve Carmenère from getting some recognition — including a 90+ score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
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FOLEY SONOMA | 5110 HWY 128, GEYSERVILLE, CA
Critics’ Pick: 2017 Foley Sonoma Rosé of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Foley Sonoma winemaker Courtney Foley hand-crafted and selected this Rosé of Pinot to be included in the Winemaker Series, making it one of the favorites of this small-but-mighty property. Featuring a whimsical watercolor label representing the Russian River Valley hillside vineyard where the wine is sourced, this Rosé is made for poolside enjoyment or porch sipping and is sure to deliver a sense of youthfulness and cheer.
Sleeper Pick: 2014 Foley Sonoma Pinot Noir, Russian River
This Pinot Noir from Foley Sonoma is a great light red summer varietal that is often overlooked. It’s easy to drink swallow during this summer heat!
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Want to read about more of our critic and sleeper picks? Read another edition of What to Taste This Weekend featuring wines from Eos Winery, Sebastiani, and The Four Graces.