2013 Thomas Fogarty Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

SKU #1291908 95 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice and #14 in Best 100 of 2016* From one of the preeminent Chardonnay producers in the country comes their least expensive yet perhaps most stunning bottling, showing strong lemon rind, sea salt, Gravenstein apple and a floral touch of honeysuckle on the nose. The wondrously zippy and saline palate is framed by a grippy, grapefruit-rind-led tension, but opens just enough to allow the slightest hints of lemon curd and delicate marzipan warmth. (MK)  (9/2016)

92 points Vinous

 Fogarty's 2013 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains is delicate and beautifully layered in the glass. Sweet floral notes meld into apricot, yellow peach and chamomile. This is an especially understated Chardonnay from Fogarty, not to mention a gorgeous appellation-level Chardonnay and a real overachiever. The Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay is mostly Langley Hill and Damiana, with a touch of Portola Springs. Thomas Fogarty remains the single most exciting estate in the Santa Cruz Mountain people have likely never heard about. Then again, production levels are tiny. The wines have gone from strength to strength since I started following the estate a few years back. The Chardonnays are intense and phenolic in feel, while the Pinots present an intriguing combination of aromatics, fruit and mountain structure. In terms of aging, the Chardonnays follow a classic, Burgundian aging regime of about 15 months in barrel followed by 4 months in tank, with the exception of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which is bottled earlier, with about 12 months in barrel, to preserve freshness...Sadly, production of these already hard to find wines is down significantly in 2013. The drought conditions led to an early bud break, but then a week of cool, windy weather in May led to a poor set. Readers should do whatever they can to taste these fine, handcrafted wines from proprietor Tommy Fogarty and winemaker Nathan Kandler. (AG)  (6/2015)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A killer value that's just about as good as the single vineyard releases, Fogarty's 2013 Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains offers terrific stone fruits, citrus blossom, mineral and hints of toast to go with a medium-bodied, rich, textured and layered feel on the palate. It has the standard acid profile of the estate, yet it still has plenty of richness. There's 1,200 cases of this beauty made, and given the quality, it's a steal at 36 bucks. An estate that deserves more attention in the market, Thomas Fogarty has been making single vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay (and some Bordeaux blends), from the Santa Cruz Mountains since 1981. Today, Tom Fogarty Jr. is in charge of the estate and Nathan Kandler makes the wines. The focus here is on their estate vineyards located mostly around the winery. These tiny plots (the smallest is just a quarter of an acre) lie between 1,600-2,300 feet in elevation and 10 miles from the Pacific. The farming is organic, most vineyards are dry farmed and yields come in at a tiny 1-3 tons per acre. While the wines lean towards the fresher, more vibrant end of the spectrum, they don’t come across as lean, and I think they have solid texture and depth of fruit. (JD)  (10/2015)

91 points Wine & Spirits

 This is a healthy, mountain-grown chardonnay, with a clear tone to its juicy, sun-ripened fruit. Its creamy chamomile and almond flavors meet an earthen zest in the end, the structure focusing the wine’s expansive richness. For scallops.  (8/2016)

K&L Notes

The Thomas Fogarty Winery has been around since 1981 but I don't know if they've ever made better, more consistently amazing, wines that they are right now. From their baby label Skyline, to their top flight single vineyards they are quickly becoming one of the superstars of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation. Now in the hands of the very capable Tom Fogarty Jr. and one of the hottest up-and-coming winemakers in Nathan Kandler it seems like they can do no wrong with their lively Chardonnays and their sublime Pinots. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

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Price: $29.99

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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/22/2017 | Send Email
The 2013 Thomas Fogarty Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay is 99% Estate fruit and 100% delicious. From all five Estate blocks this emanates from the glass with blanched almond meat, husked wheat, whole hazelnuts and fried polenta. Bright and energetic with a plush core of golden fruits and Shitake mushroom this shows both the power and savory intensity so often though of from SCM Chardonnay. Add Macadamia nut flesh, some forest floor flavors and fresh green herbs to the long and resonating finish and you really have a special Chardonnay that is not just built on texture and wine making but on the amazing raw material that Fogarty has to pull from. This really reminded me of a top flight St. Aubin at its very best but with Corton structure. Wouldn’t that be something?

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/1/2017 | Send Email
I don't think you could go wrong with this bottle of wine as it is quite delicious and a good deal. This Chardonnay is made from a winery that's been in the business since 1981 and is made of all estate, single-vineyard fruit from the Santa Cruz mountains. Lemon creme, fresh peaches, white floral and ocean spray are interlaced with bright acid and a weighty mouthfeel.

Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/24/2017 | Send Email
Santa Cruz has quickly become one of my go to areas for serious (and seriously good) wine here in California. Although I am most familiar with the spectacular offerings from Domain Eden I am always happy to taste some one else'. I have had my eye on Thomas Fogarty, but had not had a chance to taste the Chardonnay until now. I must say I am super impressed. The wine has been allowed to go through malo, but in a very natural way. This gives the wine some weight, smoke, and richness. Due to the elevation though there is plenty of acid here to balance that out. Complex with alternating layers of fruit, oak, minerality, and acid this is a serious offering.

Staff Image By: Anthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/24/2017 | Send Email
This is classic Santa Cruz style Chardonnay. A bright and fresh wine that is harmoniously balanced with bright juicy acid, clean fresh fruit and a rich complex body. Not afraid to let the grapes speak for themselves, this embodies the purity of wine making.

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Additional Information:

Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some Rhône varietals prosper as well.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5