Federal Wine & Spirits

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This Week's Tasting

Robert Foley hisself
March 30, 2018

Bob Foley began his presentation at last night's exceptional Bar Boulud dinner by going over his winemaking resume. It included some of Napa's iconic wineries, beginning in 1977 with a stint with the legendary Joe Heitz. I was struck by how some of those wineries had really impressed me in the past, but are not so interesting now.

Robert Foley

        Was it his winemaking that made them special? Last night's stunning wines suggested that the answer might well be yes.

        His only white wine, facetiously labeled Robert Foley White Wine was much more interesting than you would expect from California.  A blend of Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne, it was livelier than most of its peers from the southern Rhone, and was appetizing company to a salmon appetizer.

         The 2017 Robert Foley Hawksbill Rose of Pinot Noir was not at the dinner, but worthy itself. It is a saignee of the Hudson Pinot. It showed a nicely fruited and roundly juicy strawberry Pinot fruit. It would make a nice aperitif.

        The 2013 Robert Foley Pinot Noir from Carneros's Hudson Vineyard was a very good North Coast Pinot. It had both a heady sensuality and layered depth, plummy and rich, seamless without off-notes or protuberant tannins.

        The 2014 Robert Foley Charbono was the hit of the night. It is no longer planted in its native Savoy in what is now France, and has become rare in California. Only about three wineries make it. Foley's rendition showed softer and more of a creamily blueberry than in my notes below. It was the most requested after the dinner. There are only 3 cases left in the state.

        I loved The Griffin a "bit of everything" wine, a melange including some less usual grapes of which Bob is fond; charbono, petite sirah, Malbec, together with mainstays merlot, syrah and cabernet. The combination, especially in the very good 2015 vintage, makes for a strikingly successful wine, one that combines spicy notes with a rich deep and smooth texture.

        Merlot is not my thing, but Bob's had much to recommend it, a very friendly wine, pure and rounded with some depth and richness.

        The two Cabernets are Bob's signatures. We will taste a 2012 Napa Cabernet that was not at the dinnerIt is concentrate and structured. The 2013 Claret, a Cabernet based blend was rich and powerful, dense and layered, as one could want from Napa. It is a great cellarable wine that will last a good ten to twenty years.

        I was not quite sure what to make of the 2013 Robert Foley Touriga. Made like a port, from the Portuguese varietals that define that wine, it was a wine softer richer than most ports and at the same time a structured wine. Its tannins are granular, not hard, but it was hard to fit into my Platonic ideal of port. It is something different, but very good in its own right.



2014 Robert Foley White WineOrganic; Aroma: fresh clean rather ripe full, pretty fine, grapey; Mouth: juicy forward, grippy acidity, lively, clean, Lively grape forward, juicy , rather long, star fruit, & green plum; Very Good Plus 32; Mixed Case, 28.8; Case, 27.20



2017 Robert Foley Hawksbill Rose of Pinot Noir; Color: very pale clean; Aroma: pretty light clean, rather fresh; Mouth: fleshy sweet rounded, light acid juicy dense, spicy, fat; Very Good Plus 21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85


2013 Robert Foley Pinot Noir HudsonOrganic; Color: bright red black; Aroma: fresh rather pretty, fresh clean, pinot; Mouth: smooth clean light fresh, juicy, firm, rather clean mineral, firm, plummy finely structured dense, spicy finish; Very Good - Excellent 64; Mixed Case, 57.6; Case, 54.4

2014 Robert Foley CharbonoOrganic; Aroma: heady dense, full lighter clean, spicy , herbal oak limned; Mouth: clean rather sweet fruit, bright aid, fine tannins, age worthy, sweet rather clean, long young; Very Good - Excellent ; 43; Mixed Case, 38.7; Case, 36.55

2015 Robert Foley The GriffinOrganic; Color: medium dark; Aroma: sweet on the attack, freshly aromatic with notes of tobacco and sweet spice; very pretty; Mouth: clean fine acid, smooth, light and lifted, rather intense, complex with sweet spice and , smooth textured and rich; Very Good - Excellent43; Mixed Case, 38.7; Case, 36.55

2012 Robert Foley Cabernet SauvignonOrganic; Color: very dark opaque; Aroma: heady, reserved, deep chewy lifted, rather dense firm; Mouth: light pretty very sweet, rich fine tannins, sweet rich clean Excellent 100; Mixed Case, 90; Case, 85

2013 Robert Foley ClaretOrganic; Color: Very dark very dense Aroma: light delicate clean, elegant rather fresh, firm dense, light sweet franc, juicy; Mouth: clean smooth dense pretty fine aid elegant fine tannins, smooth sweet oak, extracted fruit; Excellent - Outstanding 145; Mixed Case, 130.5; Case, 123.25


2013 Robert Foley Touriga (Port-style) 375 ml 43; Mixed Case, 38.7; Case, 36.55


Mix any six bottles of the above wines for the mixed case price.

Mix any 12 bottles or more of the above wines for the case price.


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           - Len Rothenberg