Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recent Press

We've received some fantastic new scores and accolades for our wines this fall, and of course we're thrilled:

Pinot Report
93 points: 2010 Zero New Oak Pinot Noir
94 points: 2010 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir
91 points: 2010 Clone 05 Pinot Noir

Foursight was also mentioned as an "elite producer" in Anderson Valley by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The article is called "America's Best Pinot Noirs," and names the top Pinot-producing regions.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

America’s Best Pinot Noirs

We name the top addresses for the variety, region by region.

America’s Best Pinot Noirs
It’s been written so often that it’s become a cliché: Pinot Noir is a fickle grape that needs just the right conditions to thrive. 

Yet, Pinot’s popularity is such that we’re confronted by dozens of bottles from countless regions every time we enter a wine shop or open a wine list.

Here’s a way to cut through the clutter. Zero in on these six American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), hand-selected by our team of West Coast editors.


Anderson Valley, California

Truly gorgeous inside and out, Anderson Valley, a coastal Mendocino ­appellation due north of Sonoma County, is among California’s most chosen spots for cool-climate Pinot Noir, and a viticultural playground for producers from around the state.

Anderson Valley winds its way 15 miles between the roadside town of Boonville (where the locals speak their own language to ward off strangers), continuing northwest along remote stretches of vineyard and homesteads to the tiny town of Philo. It then continues for another 15 miles through Redwood forest toward the Pacific Ocean. 

It’s among the coolest places to grow grapes in the state—the annual average temperature hovers around 55˚F—with ocean fog drifting along the Navarro River, cramming into the valley’s hillsides and ridges. 

Here, grapes hang long and low, retaining their natural acidity. Sunlight arrives late and leaves early.
Temperatures vary by about 10 degrees from the valley’s northwestern end, nicknamed the Deep End, known for its prolonged seasons of cold nights and temperate days, to its warmer south. 
Thus, Pinots carry different characteristics in different pockets. Those grown closest to the ocean exhibit perfumed black cherry and raspberry, while those from the warmer ridges impart richer swirls of spice and darker fruit. 

They also impart hints of lavender and violet, in addition to an herbaceous characteristic sometimes traced to the valley’s proliferation of pennyroyal, a species of mint. 

With pretty red fruit, earth and spice on top of enviable structure, Anderson Valley Pinots pair well with meals. They have an ethereal quality, but also depth and richness, a proper alignment between acidity and weight.

Anderson Valley’s finest are made by estate properties, as well as many respected producers from outside of the area. —Virginie Boone

Vital Statistics

Date Established: September 1983
Size: 2,244 acres
Soil Type: Sandy, gravelly alluvial loam soils with plenty of clay at low elevations, acidic gravelly loam and clay on decomposing sandstone on the hillsides.
Number of Wineries: 35
Best Value Producers: Handley, Husch, Lazy Creek, Navarro
Elite Producers: Baxter, Black Kite Cellars, Breggo, Carpe Diem, Copain, Drew, Foursight, Goldeneye, Littorai, Toulouse, Williams Selyem

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The End of Crush 2013

As of this week, it's official: harvest 2013 is over at Foursight Wines. The last two weeks found us pressing off fermented Pinot Noir, barreling it all down, and reorganizing and cleaning the cellar. Equipment was put away, and we're now 98% buttoned up for the winter!

It was an early harvest, with our first block of Pinot Noir coming off the vine on September 5. The next 10 days were a brutal exercise in endurance and sleeplessness, with 99% of the grapes harvested with in that period. Even our Sauvignon Blanc, which was hit hard this spring with frost, then rain during bloom (thus reducing the crop) came in alongside the Pinot Noirs because of the reduced cropload.

We night picked, day picked, poured at Winesong! on the Mendocino Coast, poured in the tasting room, and planned our annual Fall Harvest Experience party. The last block to come off at Charles Vineyard was our estate Semillon, on September 19 -- right before the first sprinkles of the season.

Quality looks great overall. Mid-summer we were nervous about physiological ripeness (brown seeds and stems, etc.) catching up with rapidly increasing sugar levels due to the heat, but the cool August allowed the vines to get there before we picked. In fact, we had some of the most mature seeds and stems that we've seen in a while on most blocks. The vines knew it was an early season, and they were ready. We had just enough water to keep everything hydrated, and we're very happy with what came off the vine. Flavors are phenomenal this year, albeit with softer acids some past years.

We increased our production slightly this year, and have produced two new wines: an unoaked Pinot Noir, and a "Paraboll" Pinot Noir. The unoaked Pinot Noir was inspired by tasting our topping lots with customers, out of stainless kegs and carboys. So, we're producing a Pinot Noir that won't see any barrel influence. It will be fresh and fruity and easy to drink (and we'll be able to sell it for a great price because of the lack of $1000-a-pop barrels). The integrity of the fruit that comes off our Charles Vineyard shines through no matter the treatment, so we're certain that this will be an incredible wine.

We also produced a "Paraboll" Pinot Noir this year. To give the short version, our winemaker, Joe Webb, also worked with Londer Vineyards here in Anderson Valley. When the owners retired this year and closed the business, we made an agreement to continue to produce just one Pinot Noir -- the Paraboll blend. We are producing our take on Paraboll this vintage, with a specific blend of clones, different picking procedures, and a separate barrel program from our other Pinot Noirs. We're all very excited to see how it turns out!

One thing I'm the most proud of, personally, is that we all worked together (namely myself and my winemaker husband) without killing each other! We produced more wine than we have in several years, all in-house. This means that everything, including the whites, is 100% wild yeast, wild ML, and will be bottled unfined and unfiltered. That's rare anywhere in the world of modern winemaking.

Now we're looking at our first, full days off since bottling on August 27. I have the bubbles ready!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Crush Season, Here We Come!

We are quickly approaching bottling, then harvest season here at Foursight. This means that we come up for air some time in late October or early November. But it's also the most exciting time of year as what happens in the next few months will determine our entire product line, so to speak, from 2013.

This weekend we're preparing to bottle all our 2012 wines -- our three estate Pinot Noirs and two whites. As a small winery, we have a mobile bottling wine come to us for bottling,and we help work the line. The complicated part of bottling, however, is all in the prep work.

Months ago we sent our labels to the TTB for approval. We ordered our foil capsules, labels, corks, bottles, etc. We had to estimate wine quantities, then revise as the months went by. Bottles and
Bottling 2012
supplies were shipped to the screenprinter, shipped to us, picked up in Sonoma County, and taken out of storage. Wine was racked and put into tank. It's a long but necessary process to get to a final, bottled product that we can sell.

This year will be unusual because it will be an early harvest for the entire North Coast. We will likely start harvest the first week in September. Historically, this is when we would pick for sparkling wine (at much lower sugars), but this year our regular, still Pinot Noirs will come off the vine.

The early harvest is due to higher-than-average temperatures in June and July. Although August has been unseasonably cool, it has not been cool enough to reset the year back to average, if there is such a thing anymore.

An early harvest is not a negative thing, necessarily. Because sugars have accumulated so quickly, we still have really nice acid levels in the vineyard, meaning that the resulting wines should be quite nice. There have been no major heat spikes that came out of the blue, and no big rains (although we've had a few, unusual drizzles). As long as you could control mold and mildew in your vineyard, which we did, the fruit should be of very good quality.

So here's to a great crush 2013! I have been a very bad blogger this summer (I blame facebook, twitter and instagram for taking away my attentions), but will vow to update as regularly as time allows when the fruit starts to arrive.

See you all on the other side!

Monday, July 8, 2013

First-Ever Anderson Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend!

For the past month I've been planning the inaugural Anderson Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend -- to be held July 27 & 28, 2013.

This first-ever event is modeled both on barrel tastings held in other Calif. wine regions, and on the first few years of the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, which was called "Roll Out the Barrels" and was held at participating wineries throughout the valley.

At this first Anderson Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend, 18 local wineries will be featuring samples of yet-to-be-released wines, primarily Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs. There will be bites, music, great deals on futures of wines, and more.

At Foursight, our winemaker will be present to pour two separate 2012 Pinot Noirs straight from the barrel! We'll also be offering futures of the wines at 20% off (30% for wine club members), along with food and wine pairings, and more!

We purposefully didn't push ticket sales this year because we wanted it to be a nice, easy start to an event that we plan to cap at a reasonable amount of tickets. One of the goals of every event held in the valley is to create an environment where people can really visit with winemakers and proprietors, without being overcrowded or crazy. After all, our visitors come to Anderson Valley for the great wines, lack of traffic, and more intimate experiences.

Tickets are just $20 for both Saturday and Sunday. Each winery will be offering something a little different, but I know it will all be fantastic! We hope you join us for this great event!

You can purchase tickets here.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Animals Everywhere

We're dog-sitting two dogs right now, bringing the grand total to four dogs, a horse and a cat! And to think I almost bought a goat a few months ago...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Our First "Wine Bar Night" at Foursight

One of my mantras about owning a business is that, as a business owner, you always have to keep trying something new. Making no decisions is as bad as making questionable ones.

Having come from the land of plenty (food and wine, that is) in Napa and Sonoma, I missed being able to enjoy evenings with bites and a glass of wine at a local winery. So, I created our "Wine Bar Nights" partially for our customers, and partially so I could sit on the patio and enjoy the sunset with good food, wine and friendly faces!

This past Friday was our first Wine Bar Night, and it was a lot of fun. Honestly, in a remote region like Anderson Valley, you never know how new events will go over, or if you will get the traffic to make it all worthwhile. I can happily report that it was a great success!

We joined up with the new Aquarelle Cafe & Wine Bar (I highly recommend them - check out their Facebook page for more info and new menus). Chef Christina made us filet mignon bites on crostini with Point Reyes blue cheese, roasted garlic, arugula and a balsamic drizzle. With the Pinots, they were perfection!

Here's a photo just to tease. We'll do two more wine bar nights this summer: on July 19 and August 2. Join us at the tasting room from noon to 7 p.m.!

Foursight Tasting Room: 14475 Highway 128, Boonville, CA 95415

View Larger Map

Friday, May 24, 2013

2013 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival Photos

We've just wrapped up another fantastic festival. This year Foursight hosted the welcome dinner as well as our Sunday open house, so it was a busy one, but we had plenty of help from friends and family!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wine Social Media is Advertising, TTB Says

Today's task is to make sure our name, address, city and state and several other pieces of information are added to all my social media sites and blogs. Why? The TTB has ruled that social media has to follow the same rules as advertisements for alcohol (think billboards and magazine ads). So, no health claims, no disparaging remarks about other products, a clear listing of the class and designation of the alcohol (because grape wine is a super sexy way to describe high-end Pinot Noir), etc.

Sigh... The wine business is a complicated business.

Interested in the details? Read the actual industry circular:

P.S. Pinot Festival photos to be posted as soon as we can upload and edit! What a great weekend!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival!

It's always Pinot time in Anderson Valley, but on May 17-19 it has a special prominence as we dedicate an entire weekend to celebrating the varietal at our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival!

The festival boasts a full weekend of Pinot-centric events, from a technical conference to a BBQ, grand tasting, winemaker dinners, and Sunday open houses. If you haven't attended before, we highly recommend it -- I've consistently found it the best Pinot tasting we've poured at, year after year. A full schedule of events and tickets can be found at the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association Web site, here.

Tomales Bay Oyster Bar

On Sunday, May 19, from 11-5, Foursight will be hosting our annual Open House at the winery and tasting room. We plan to again serve fresh Tomales Bay oysters, alongside a leg of jamon serrano and a bruschetta bar. In other words, get here early before the oysters run out! Last year they were gone in record time!

We'll be pouring our new-release Pinots, alongside some library wines and 2012 barrel samples -- an incredible vintage in the making! And, of course, we'll have some specials to celebrate the day!

Ozzie and the whole family would love to see you here!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Big Changes, Events, and the 2013 Vintage!

It's that magical portion of springtime here in Anderson Valley -- the one where the weather is warm and sunny, the grass is tall and green, and none of us get any sleep because of frost fans, pumps and the like. Luckily it's hard to be bitter about it when it's so beautiful. We just drink a lot of coffee!

Spring is always an extremely busy time of year for us at Foursight. Event season starts up again -- we just had our fourth anniversary party (photos below) at the winery, and May brings our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival (get your tickets now, before they sell out). Our spring wine club shipments go out, and we also start ordering bottling supplies and planning blends for late summer.

Tasting Charles Vineyard Pinots - April 6, 2013

Click here for more photos of our Fourth Anniversary tasting -- a five-year vertical of Pinot Noir!

This year we have a few changes. The biggest is that our head winemaker, Joe Webb, will be moving to Foursight full-time in late May! He's always had other projects on top of his winemaking duties here at Foursight, so we're excited for him to be more involved in the tasting room and front-of-the-house business, so to speak.

This also means we'll be able to do some private, winemaker barrel tastings, tours, and other exclusive tastings this summer. If you're interested in setting something up, shoot me an e-mail and we can go from there!

We also plan to expand our hours for the summer season, including Thursdays for the months of June, July and August!

In the vineyard we've had enough frost nights to almost fill two hands, with some lows in the upper 20's. That's typical for our vineyard, but never pleasant. Otherwise, the vintage looks good so far. Budbreak was around March 20, and the vines look happy! With the dry spring we may have some water concerns come late summer, but it's still too early to tell.

Don't forget to join us for our annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival Open House! We'll have fresh Tomales Bay oysters, a leg of jamon serrano, and bruschetta bar, and plenty of Pinot Noir. Come by between 11-5 on Sunday, May 19, and celebrate with us!

Happy Spring!
Kristy Charles
Foursight Wines

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Can You Believe It's Been Four Years??

This month we're celebrating our fourth year open at the Foursight tasting room. FOUR YEARS! It's incredible. We opened our doors officially on March 29, 2009!

Okay, in the scheme of things, four years isn't forever. I just saw a press release for a Sonoma-based winery celebrating 100-plus years open. But for four people who started planning this project in 2005, it certainly seems like a big accomplishment to be in business and doing well four years after hanging up the open sign.

The hurdles we've jumped (and a few we've eaten it on), have been numerous. To name but a few, a failing economy right as we released our first wines, the challenges of launching a brand with our current building still a year out, gracefully dodging a legal fight with a very large wine corporation over one of our labels, and, cumulatively most important of all, all the myriad of small decisions and path changes that running your own business requires.

We've also had a lot of successes, from good publicity, press and reviews, to wines that seem to please. Managing to prove many smart people wrong and make 100% wild yeast, wild ML, unfined and unfiltered Pinot Noirs without incident is always a proud moment for us after each harvest.

Last night we hosted a 2009 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir tasting with our industry tasting group, and our 2009 Zero New Oak Pinot and 2009 Charles Vineyard Pinot received both first and second place. The same thing happened with our 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir tasting. Even small accomplishments like that make us very proud.

So, to celebrate four years (because we are FOURsight after all), we're throwing a party! On Saturday, April 6th we're having our fourth anniversary party at the winery and tasting room. We've finally been making wine long enough that we can put together a five-year vertical of Charles Vineyard Pinot Noirs, and host a tasting led by Foursight Winemaker Joe Webb and Winegrower Bill Charles. Following the tasting we'll have a lunch (by Burt of Boontberry Farm, who always does an incredible job). We're also planning some games and prizes! It should be an amazing afternoon of celebration and, for the four of us, reflection. We're happy that so many of our club members, friends and great customers can join us for it.

Happy four years to us!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Foursight Pinot Noir & Chocolate Weekend!

On Valentine's weekend (February 15-18), Foursight will be serving up a flight of our wines and sampling hand-crafted chocolates made with our own estate Pinot Noir!

Made by Essence by Chocolate, these sweet little bites are amazing. And that's big coming from a girl who hates fruit in my chocolate AND those little cordial chocolates with the booze in the middle!

To be honest, I have no earthly idea how they're made, but our Foursight Pinot Noir is incorporated into the chocolate, not just stuffed in the middle. They're delicious and beautiful, and we'll be sampling them and selling gift boxes all weekend in our tasting room!

So join us during our regular tasting room hours for two of our favorite things!

14475 Highway 128, Boonville
10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. -- Friday through Monday
(707) 895-2889

A Tick

I had a tick crawling underneath my shirt yesterday. That's the second in two weeks; I'm assuming I acquired them walking the dogs in the grass. You know my title about "learning to love country life again"? Not this part. Yuck!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hawaii 2013: Family Vacation

Every year we close for three to four weeks of January to take a little break and do the big projects around the winery that we can't when we're open (like painting, sealing floors and inventory). This year we closed for three weeks and did our deep cleaning, January wine clubs and the rest, but we also indulged in a family vacation to Maui.

We stayed in Kahana, just outside the craziness of Lahaina. We had a great little beach in front of the condo, which we spent a lot of time at, making this a little more restful than last year's action-packed week on the Big Island.

As a family that works together, it's also nice just to have some time to spend together NOT talking about work. :)

We did a helicopter tour, drove the road to Hana (which I had forgotten was SO beautiful), took a snorkeling boat to Molokini, and went into the "upcountry" area to do the Maui Winery and Mama's Fish House on the way. I hadn't been to Maui since a trip during high school, so it was very cool to see the island with adult eyes (and the ability to order myself a Mai Tai or margarita!).

We had some great meals (like Mama's Fish House and some local plate lunch places), but to be honest, the best food we had was cooked in the condo. I love that you can go down to the local fish market and pick up sushi grade ahi, swordfish, and about 25 other local species that I can't pronounce or don't remember -- all amazing. A side of rice, vegetables and some soy sauce and wasabi and we were set.

The disappointments of the trip: an expensive dinner at Roy's, where service was slow and everything priced above quality. For $40-something an entree, I expect excellence. We had a fishy sushi roll and okay food. My fish was overcooked, as were others at the table. Fairly good wine list, however.

Also, Maui's Winery was an amazement in many ways. I have to say that the bubbles (pineapple and grape) were decent. I just can't do the slightly sweet pineapple wine. Too much. They actually did three one-once pours per person, which is legal but not much to taste, and were so busy one person just rang up sales one after another, the entire time we were there. On the plus side, they do grow some grapes there on the island, but I considered this more of a been-there-done-that stop. A novelty. But then again we are wine snobs.

What I highly recommend: taking the Mahana Nai'a boat to Molokini, with an all-you-can-drink canned beer assortment and just generally cool people on the boat. It wasn't packed, and we all had plenty of room. Some Humpback whales swam right up to us on the way out, so we were able to see them up close. Amazing creatures.

I also recommend peppering in some local plate lunches or dinners -- we loved Local Foods and the Honokawai Okazuya deli in Lahaina. At Local Foods, six of us ate for $38. No booze helps, but it was delicious!

Here are a few photos from the trip, with more to come, including Joe's snorkeling pics taken with his iphone (in a waterproof lifeproof case).