2007 1470 Foppoli Chardonnay
California: Sonoma County
What We Say
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Mission Codename: 538 Years
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Locate a premium Sonoma County Chardonnay for the summertime enjoyment of our demanding Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Foppoli Wines
Wine Subject: 2007 ‘1470’ Chardonnay
Winemaker: Richard Foppoli
Backgrounder:The Foppoli have been in the wine trade for 583 years. In California, the family has been making wines for the last 100 years. Prior, in Italy, where the family began in the trade by meticulously growing grapes for some of the finest wines to emerge from northern Italy. Today, the family continues the tradition with its estate wines, including today’s limited-production 1470 Chardonnay, a wine to get very excited about. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes, followed by his interview with Dominic Foppoli, the 5th generation decendant of the American branch of this prolific winemaking family
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Pale and clear straw-yellow with glinting edges. Fat clusters of narrowly-spaced slender legs streak down the side of the glass when swirled
Smell – Beautiful medium intensity aromas of ripe tropical pineapple, acacia and soft citrus, with hints of green apple, lime and flint. These sit gently atop a very subtle layer of buttered popcorn that really rounds out the bouquet
Feel – Velvety and so very smooth up front, with an initial sweet attack that is followed by a slightly dry, slightly mineral feel on the bright mid-palate. Great structure with a very creamy that accentuates the bright fruit and acidity
Taste – Flavors of real tropical fruit and citrus, with soft flavors of pineapple, guava, citrus, and Asian mango. These are complimented by a creamy but soft butter component, with a touch of orange blossom honey
Finish – A medium long finish with well integrated flavors of its tropical fruit, minerals and citrus
Conclusion – This wine is a sheer joy to drink! It is delicious, well balanced, and has a voluptous feel that we cannot get enough of. This no-oak Chardonnay doesn’t overpower you with oak and butter as some Cali Chards may tend to do. Classic flavors of tropical fruit, paired with soft citrus make for an enjoyable drinking experience. This wine will pair well with lighter fare as easily as with summer BBQ. Yes, Chardonnay and BBQ. Try it, you’ll see! Also, I encourage you to sample this wine at varrying temperatures. I enjoyed it righ out of the chiller, but as the wine warmed to room temp, it softened and new flavors emerged, making the wine very fun to spend some extended time with. Our only regret with this wine is that there were so few cases produced. If you love creamy and velvety Chardonnay’s, this wine is a certain winner
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: RICHARD FOPPOLI
DATE OF BIRTH: May 1st, 1951
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco
WINE EDUCATION: Taught by Grandfather. Subsequent degrees in Biology, Chemistry and Viticulture
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Entire career in family wine business
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Never be satisfied with your winemaking. Strive to be better with each vintage”
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Chardonnay
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Planting Foppoli Estate vineyard with world-class Chardonnay
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Spending time with world famous ‘maverick’ Rich, Fred Franzia of Bronco Wines
WINEMAKER QUOTE: "My grapes are kissed by the fog and nurtured by the sun”
* WINEMAKER INTERVIEW*
AGENT RED: Greetings, Richard. We are thrilled to be showing your 1470 today. We love it. It is velvety-smooth and extremely delicious. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
RICH: It is my extreme pleasure to share my passion with you
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
RICH: I was 12 living in Italy visiting family friends in Asti when i was given a glass of a 1961 Barbera that literally marked me for life. I was amazed that such wine existed and happily consumed ever after
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
RICH: I learned equally in italy and california
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
RICH: To give a proper interpretation of the unique characteristics of the vineyard fruit. I do this by minimizing the use of oak
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
RICH: Davis Bynum and his minimalist approach to winemaking. The wine must stand on its own merits. The less that is done during the process, the more the wine will express itself
RED: Excellent! We just featured a Bynum Pinot Noir earlier this week. Our Operatives went crazy for it. How long have you been making wine?
RICH: Started at home in 1965
RED: Who do you make wine for?
RICH: My family and close friends
RED: Tell me, what makes the [REGION] so special?
RICH: We have cool mornings with fog that burns off and ushers in warm sunlit afternoons
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a RICH?
RICH: Your passion for wine must be all-consuming 24/7. Wine must be a pleasure to make, not a job
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RICH: Getting the equipment ready for this harvest; barrels, tanks, crews and strict monitoring of fruit in vineyard
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
RICH: 1470 Is when my family first settled in the winegrowing region of northern italy and planted vines. This wine we have today is a blend of our european tradition and california style. It is fruit-forward with minimal oak
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RICH: This is a very versatile wine that can accompany a wide range of foods from cheeses to seafood. Many people enjoy this wine slightly chilled, by itself, with good friends
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
RICH: I am an accordion player
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
RICH: I constantly search out different california wines. The only wines that i drink consistently are foppoli wines because i know the purity and love that is in them.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
RICH: For personal pure enjoyment. Wine is a natural occurring substance. Drink what you like, not what some snob likes.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
RICH: 1961 Asti Barbera
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
RICH: Q: How can a person make a million dollars in the winegrape/wine business? A: Start with 10 million!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
RICH: Please visit us at the family vineyard in the russian river valley for a vineyard tour and tasting, complimentary to certified agents and their guests.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Our 1470 is a tribute to the 538 years since our family moved into the grape growing regions of Northern Italy and began producing wine. It is oakless like the Foppoli reserve but in contrast we take it through malolactic fermentation to give it a creamy soft mouth feel. It is a great spring time wine. At only 151 cases released, it will only be available for a very limited time.
About The Winery:
The Foppoli family has been making boutique wines in California for nearly 100 years. In Italy, the family winemaking tradition dates back centuries. The American practice started 5 generations ago when Giuseppe Foppoli created a high end private label in a small production facility located in the North Beach section of San Francisco. Giuseppe only allowed the wine to be sold to a select list of long time customers and in the two high end private social clubs that he ran in the city.
The tradition of high end exclusivity has been passed down to Giuseppe’s great grandson Dominic Foppoli who is the current Brand Manager of Foppoli Wines. Dominic, along with his wine making father Richard, have kept the practice of making only small production lots reserved for private family use and direct sales to friends and associates. In 2002, with the addition of new vineyards on the Foppoli Family Estate in the central Russian River Valley, the Foppoli’s finally allowed a vineyard designate to be created from their excess crops. The huge public success from these designates along with the expansion of facilities on the estate finally convinced the Foppoli family to create a retail label for their wine. The 2006 Foppoli Russian River Valley Chardonnay marked the first vintage the family has ever allowed to be released to the general public. After nearly a century, the Foppoli’s hand crafted, tradition infused wine is finally available in a limited release to the general public.
About the Vineyards:
Welcome to our Russian River Valley estate vineyard. We planted this vineyard in 1999-2000 with the goal of producing world-class Chardonnay fruit and thus, world class wines. Winemaking truly begins in the vineyard. It begins before planting when a decision has to be made regarding the proper clone of fruit paired with the proper rootstock. To aid in this selection, trenches are dug throughout the proposed vineyard, and soil samples are sent to a laboratory for thorough analysis. These results will be used to assess the vigor and indicate if a drought resistant rootstock is preferable to a moisture loving rootstock. All of these decisions influence the final glorious product, wine.
Each of our vines is touched by hand a minimum of 7 times during the year, this enables us to keep close observation for potential problems. Richard Foppoli has a degree in Biology which helps him fully understand the dynamics involved in having the proper balance with nature. Rather than having man-made controls, we encourage birds of prey to do my work; we have a number of old trees that serve as a sort of sanctuary for these animals. There are hawks, falcons, and owls in abundance to control the natural pest population as well as fox’s, coyotes and raccoons. Proper sustainability is key to proper stewardship of the land. We also employ a small herd of cattle to keep weed growth/ fire hazards in control as well as naturally fertilizing the vineyard and producing the cutest calves around.
Call ahead and make an appointment for a private vineyard tour and understand why our wines are so special and meet the Foppoli Family.