Bill Foley and his wife, Carol Johnson Foley launched Foley-Johnson in 2012. Located in Rutherford, Foley-Johnson prides itself for making high quality Napa Cabernet. Their hospitality center is housed in an old converted redwood barn built in the 1920s. The winery produces two tiers of wines: Napa Valley and Handmade. The Napa Valley tier focuses on Bordeaux varieties from the nearly 50 acres of estate vineyards around the winery in Rutherford. Their Handmade series utilizes winemakers from other Foley estate wineries, such as Dave Lattin of Kuleto, Leslie Renaud of Lincourt, Paul Warson of Firestone, Mark Lyon of Sebastiani and Lisa Bishop Forbes of Chalk Hill.
Foley-Johnson head winemaker Brad Warner previously worked as a cellar worker for Charles Krug Winery. Three years later he moved to Robert Mondavi Winery to become their cellar foreman. During his 30 year career at Mondavi, Brad completed courses in winemaking and business management at Napa Valley College, UC Davis and Stanford University before being hired at Foley-Johnson David Ramey also works as consulting winemaker and has previously worked at Chateau Petrus and famed California estates, Dominus and Rudd. Needless to say, David Ramey is one of the premier winemakers in California.
In terms of estate vineyards, Foley-Johnson utilizes the Main Vineyard and the Peral vineyard. The Main vineyard (nearly 40 acres) is divided into 29 blocks based on soils, exposure and aspect. Until 1984, when the first vines were introduced by Bill and Lila Jaeger, the original estate was planted to plum and walnut orchards. Today the site features 14.4 acres Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.3 acres Merlot, 1.3 acres Petite Sirah, 1.7 acres Petit Verdot, 1.6 acres Cabernet Franc, 1.1 acres Malbec, 3.4 acres Sauvignon Blanc, and 1.5 acres Sauvignon Musque. The Peral vineyard is a neighboring, 10-acre estate parcel, devoted to Cabernet that is just south of the original vineyard, and offers similar soil and growing conditions. I recently had the chance to taste four wines out of the portfolio and was impressed with the Cabernet offerings. The 2012 ‘Rutherford’ bottling was a rich and opulent wine that will have a very long life. I was also particularly impressed with the 2012 Meritage, which captures the art of blending.
Here are the fantastic new releases from Foley-Johnson. Look for them online at http://www.foleyjohnsonwines.com/ #foleyjohnson
2013 Foley-Johnson Sauvignon Blanc- Vines for this Sauvignon Blanc are planted in sandy soils along the Napa River at their estate vineyard in Rutherford. This wine was aged 4.5 months in 100% new French oak with no battonage prior to bottling in July 2014. This wine opens with aromas of cut grass, lychee and jalepenjo pepper. There are flavors reminiscent of pear, grapefruit and Gala apple with a wonderful minerality. A bit on the lean side, but tasty. Drink 2015-2020- 88
2012 Foley-Johnson ‘Napa’ Cabernet- This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc. It was stored 19 months in French oak barrels (20% new) prior to bottling in July 2014. The wine opens with aromas of sage, anise and creme de cassis. This leads to flavors of black cherry, blackberry, cassis, and anise. This has nice weight on the mouthfeel, indicative of this superlative vintage. Drink 2015-2028- 91
2012 Foley-Johnson ‘Rutherford’ Cabernet- This Cabernet wine is sourced from two Rutherford vineyards, the the Peral Vineyard, having heavier soils and gravel and the Main Vineyard which is more loamy soil of gravel, clay and sand. It weighs in at 14.6% alcohol and is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot. After 19 months of aging in French Oak barrels (35% new) the wine was bottled July 2014. This wine opens with aromas of anise, black plums, red bell pepper and cassis. There are flavors of creme de cassis, anise, black cherry, mocha and graphite. Lovely weight on the mouthfeel, this dense and delicious Cabernet that improves with an hour of aeration. Hard to resist now but this beauty for two more years. Drink 2017-2035.- 93
2012 Foley-Johnson ‘Rutherford’ Meritage- This is a blend of 68% Cabernet, 23% Merlot, 6% Petite Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The blend was bottled in July 2014 and spent 18 months in French oak (30% new) This comes from the Foley-Johnson Estate vineyard, which is primarily loamy soil of gravel, clay and sand. The wine opens with aromas reminiscent of prune, black tea and anise. There are rich flavors of black cherry, blackberry, spice cake and creme de cassis. Lovely balance and richness on the mouthfeel. You can taste the varietals beautifully working together in this blend. Drink 2015-2028- 92