FJ Wine Tasting

What to Taste this Weekend

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, for our debut 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.


Critics’ Pick: 2015 Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay (93pts, Wine Spectator)

“Lots of spice, apricot, fig and honeydew melon flavors combine for a full-bodied, mouth-coating experience, with a finish that sails on and on, gaining depth.” 

– Wine Spectator Senior Editor James Laube

Sleeper: 2014 Chalk Hill Malbec, Chalk Hill AVA

So, you know all about how Chalk Hill makes great Chardonnay every year, but didn’t know the iconic Sonoma estate made a fantastic Malbec, too? That’s okay. Not many people do, but our winemakers and tasting room professionals know all too well how special this lush red wine is. From the tasting notes…

“Strikingly deep purple in color with intense aromas of black cherry and smoky cedar. A complex, balanced, and full texture make it a truly bold and delectable wine.”

Learn More & Shop Chalk Hill Wines…


Critics’ Pick: 2015 Roth Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley (91pts, Wine Spectator)

“Complex aromas of creamy oak, mocha, gravel and dark berry combine for a dense, rich and concentrated effort that’s firmly tannic, with a seam of elegance.” 

– Wine Spectator Senior Editor James Laube

Sleeper: 2014 Roth Rancho Santa Rosa, Sta. Rita Hills

Now, we know you’re thinking, “Hey, Roth is in Healdsburg! Why are Santa Rosa and Sta. Rita Hills on this label?” Well, it’s complicated. Actually, no, it’s not. Our previous Roth Winemaker, Leslie Renaud, came to us from our Central Coast properties, Lincourt and Foley Estates, where she perfected the art of making Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noirs. Lesile wanted to introduce the Santa Rita Hills style of Pinot to Roth fans, so she had the fruit brought up to Sonoma County so she could do exactly that. 

“Voluptuous aromas of citrus blossom and bright fruit,” read the tasting notes. “Its fruit-forward flavors of pear, apple, lime and apricot mingle delightfully with wet stone and chalk.”

Learn More & Shop Roth Wines…


Critics’ Pick: 2014 Foley Johnson Proprietary Red Meritage ( 92pts, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate)

“It is another striking value among the stratospherically priced wines of Napa. More floral than its counterpart, with more uplifted aromatics, but similar weight and richness, this full-bodied, pure, ripe, delicious and complex wine has attractive aromatics, medium to full body and velvety tannins.”

– Wine Advocate

Sleeper: 2012 Foley Johnson “Handmade” Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. 

This is a wine that Merus winery made for Foley Johnson, only 75 Cases were produced.  This generous Cabernet has had a few extra years in the bottle and is showing amazing right now.  Full-bodied with plenty of lush blue and black fruit will pair with the richest steak.  It is also great to enjoy by itself.  

Learn More & Shop Foley Johnson Wines…


Critics’ Pick: 2015 JA Ranch Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills (93pts & Publisher’s Pick, The Tasting Panel)

“From its earthy perfume, secondary aromas of spiced cherry pie, mocha-cedar, and dusted cocoa come into play. ¬The flavors exude deep, dark black cherry and the earthy stream continues through to the nish. Black tea tannins take a light grip and are seasoned with baking spice.” 

– Meridith May, ¬The Tasting Panel, November 2017

Sleeper: 2014 Foley Estates Steel Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills

Delicate, alluring aromas of clover flower honey and lemon zest entice your senses. Fresh and citrusy on the palate, with flavors of pineapple, green apple and hints of ripe lemon meringue on the finish. This steel Chardonnay offers a nice change from its oaked counterpart, and pairs fantastically with the impending warmer weather. 

Learn More & Shop Foley Estates Wines…

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