New Additions to Georgetown!
Read below to hear all about the new Robert Foley wines from the winemaker’s own lips!
The Griffin – on the Foley family crest in Irish heraldry combines the strengths of the lion, king of beasts, with the eagle, king of the skies.
A winemaker’s dream is to be artistically free to combine characters into wine that is purely hedonic and non-compliant with varietal regulations, so The Griffin’s blend changes with every vintage.
Bottled in Spring of 2016, this vibrantly youthful red blend offers aromas of red and black berry fruit, rose petals and just a touch of vanilla. The full body is framed by gently gripping fine tannins and a flood of berry fruit. More than half of this blend are classic claret varieties (Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot), which marry with Rhone-rooted varieties (Syrah, Petite Sirah, Charbono). Delicious in its youth, this red blend combines the stuffing and balance to age elegantly for many years.
This year’s blend is 32% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petite Sirah, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Syrah, 9% Charbono.
The 2014 Charbono shows a rare combination for a California red of thorough ripeness and bright tangy acidity. The beautiful deep, opaque ruby color provides a visual clue to the ripeness, which shows again in aromas of mixed berry fruit jam and vanilla. The full mid-palate is framed with lively acidity that gives way to velvety soft tannin in the finish. This is a very versatile food wine!
Charbono is one of the lost grape varieties – almost. Recent reports indicate there are only about 90 acres of this variety in existence, half of this in Napa county. The original cuttings were imported to Calistoga in the Napa Valley from the Savoie region in the French Alps in about 1880. Its original name was Doux Noir, or “soft black,” later called Charbonneau (carbon water). Subsequently, Charbono was wiped out in Europe by the Phylloxera root louse infestation.
Some believed it to be the Italian grape variety Dolcetto but this was proven not to be the case through genetic testing. After repeal of Prohibition in the U.S., Charbono was used by Inglenook for blending with their new Cask Cabernet wines and small amounts were bottled as varietal wine. I tasted the 1968 Inglenook Charbono from cask in 1969 and was inspired to become a winemaker with that taste.