2013 Thomas Fogarty Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1314336 94 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice* Though not one of the producer's single-vineyard bottlings, this estate blend manages to stun the nose and palate nonetheless. Tart mulberry, Kalamata olive, hibiscus, rose hips, red plum and sandalwood aromas wrestle attention immediately, then the sip delivers bergamot, cedar ash, exotic cranberry and rosemary depth. It delivers an excellent combination of wood, fruit and herb. (MK)  (10/2016)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A killer value, there’s roughly 4,000 cases of the 2013 Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains, and it saw 33% whole clusters and 11 months in 20% new French oak. Coming mostly from purchased fruit from a number of sites, it has lots of whole cluster notes of pepper, violets and spice to go with upfront, lively notes of black cherries and black raspberry. Medium-bodied, elegant and already delicious, drink it over the coming 4-5 years. 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)

90 points John Gilman

 The 2013 'regular' bottling of pinot from Thomas Fogarty is excellent. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a stylish blend of cherries, lovely spice tones, a fine base of soil, coffee, a bit of beetroot and a discreet touch of cedary wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, bright and tangy, with a fine core of red fruit, nice soil signature and a touch of youthful herbacité perking up the modestly tannic and well-balanced finish. This is accessible out of the blocks, but will develop nice secondary layers of complexity with a bit of bottle age. 13.1 percent octane this year. Fine juice. (Drink between 2016-2035)  (4/2016)

K&L Notes

"One of the rising stars of the Santa Cruz Mountains is Thomas Fogarty Winery, which is owned and run by the Fogarty Family, with the wines made by the young, talented Nathan Kandler. The estate consists of numerous, tiny vineyards spread mostly around the estate, and they normally release numerous single vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. As with the other Santa Cruz Mountain estates, dismal weather in May caused horrible fruit set problems, and yields were decimated (so much so they had to combine numerous normally single vineyard parcels just to fill a fermenter). There’s very little of these to go around, but they’re smoking good wines and well worth the extra effort to track down." -Jeb Dunnuck

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Staff Image By: Anthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/9/2017 | Send Email
Thomas Fogarty Vineyards has been making quality wine for over thirty five years in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They are devoted to practicing organic and biodynamic farming in order to preserve the land for generations to come. All of their wines are expressive, but the 2013 Pinot Noir stood out to me. Fresh raspberries, a touch of elegant wood is accompanied by bright acid and a long dry finish. Beautiful floral tones and a touch of earthiness round out this stellar wine.

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/8/2017 | Send Email
This Pinot Noir from Thomas Fogarty screams Santa Cruz Mountain terroir. It is a blend of 8 different locations that are all estate and include cool mountain and maritime climates. Lean and fresh, this wine shows flavors of red cherries, plum, rose and some dried herb. With an alcohol level of just 13.1%, this super drinkable Pinot is a rare find among other big, ripe California Pinots.

Staff Image By: Christina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/5/2017 | Send Email
This is an elegant Pinot with old world intrigue. Sourced from vineyards that range from 400-2,600 feet in elevation and planted on shale soil, the wine has an expansive, smooth and clean palate, with a gamy and spicy undertone. Fermented with naturally occurring yeasts, the wine reflects the Santa Cruz mountain terroir, with rocky minerality and Bing and black cherry aromas and flavors.

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/3/2017 | Send Email
Do not let the fact that this is the “entry level” Fogarty Pinot Noir fool you. This is outrageous wine, entirely under-valued and full of Pinot greatness. From numerous estate and non-estate sites Tom Jr. and Nathan Kandler have quilted together a wildly expressive wine that speaks of the Santa Cruz Mountains. From numerous sub-regions of the appellation this includes fruit that was grown from 400-2,600 feet elevation and that mountainside structure pulls this wine along seamlessly. Light, tangy and full of crunchy, red fruited snap it is worth the price of admission just to experience the playful tension between ripe pomegranates, plum and white cherry fruit and the zesty acid that Pinot Noir is known for from the area. But then comes the loaded finish that has chaparral, white floral and sage components that will leave you wanting glass after glass. In the world of crazy priced Pinot Noir these days this wine strikes out as something incredibly special.

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

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.


- 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.
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.