Fogline Vineyards

Owner(s) Brent Bessire, Evan Pontoriero
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Fogline Vineyards

A small producer of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah and Chardonnay launched in 2009. The home vineyard is on Sonoma Mountain in the Sonoma Coast AVA. At 900 feet, the property sits above the fog line, allowing additional exposure to the sun throughout the growing season. Temperature inversion results in warmer nights and cooler days than vineyards at lower elevations. This allows fruit to ripen while lessening the need to leave the fruit hanging for extended periods. Being above the fog line, also helps keep fungus and mold at bay.

The winery is a partnership between Brent Bessire and Evan Pontoriero. Brent learned the wine business from Gary Farrell and time spent at Mauritson Family Winery. Evan has had a successful career in film, but spent his spare time learning about wine and eventually becoming a hobby winemaker. He developed a friendship with Brent after the two met at a number of wine events. The first vines were planted on Sonoma Mountain in 2007, and the first wine produced in 2009. The vineyard is directly above Gap's Crown Vineyard and about a mile to the north on the ridge line from Sun Chase Vineyard.

In mid-2014, a new winery and tasting room was established in Fulton where the owners took over Saralee Knude's Farm building that had been empty for 13 years. It was originally built for Fulton Valley Cellars in 1984 where Rod Berglund was the first winemaker in the building. George Davis from Porter Creek and Bob Mueller of Mueller Wines also made wine there. After Saralee closed Sonoma Grapevines, it was acquired by Robert Mondavi who was unable to acquire the proper permits to expand the facility into a large winery. The owners of Fogline were able to lease it for it's original use. They plan to expand the facility, renovate the tasting room and build a private tasting room.

The wines are available direct and from fine dining establishments in California.

Reviewed Wines

2011 Fogline Vineyards Floodgate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.68, 195 cases, $38. Released April 2013. From an established and respected vineyard located just off River Road in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley. Clones 667, 777, 115 and Pommard. Aged in 30% new French oak barrels. A commercial strain of malolactic bacteria is used to produce low biogenic amines in the finished wine. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Very aromatic upon opening with bright aromas of Bing cherry and spice. Oak tends to surface more prominently over time in the glass. The mid palate is lush with deep red cherry and cola flavor and noticeable oak in the background. Fruit-driven with impressive richness, this wine displays balanced firm tannins and a good cut of acidity on the finish which leaves some oak in its wake. Score: 88. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Fogline Vineyard Sun Chase Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.70, 195cases, $42. Released October 2012. This 40- acre vineyard is situated at 900 to 1400 foot elevation on Sonoma Mountain in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast. Clones 667 and 777. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromatically alive with dark berry, spiced plum and wooded forest aromas. Well-endowed with prodigious black cherry, black currant, blackberry and blueberry fruits typical of 667 and 777, accented with a touch of spice. The tannins are muscular but well matched to the sappy fruit, and the lingering finish offers a pleasing riff of acidity. Somewhat brooding at this stage, this wine will benefit from further cellaring. Score: 89. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Fogline Vineyards Floodgate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.65, 135 cases, $38. Vineyard is located in Middle Reach of Russian River Valley. Clones 115, 666, 777 and Pommard. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Smooth, spicy and sexy, with seductive aromas of dusty, dark cherries, graham and toast. A cherry bombast that is luscious yet refined and silky with complimentary hints of spice and cola. Nicely balanced with supple tannins and good staying power on the finish. The pedigree of this established vineyard shows through. A high-collared, impressive offering. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Fogline Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.35, TA 0.67, 80 cases, $42. Released fall 2011. Sourced from the Sun Chase Vineyard on the western slope of Sonoma Mountain at 1200 to 1400 feet elevation in the Petaluma Gap. Clones 667 and 777. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Complex nose offering many scents that come and go including black cherries, plum sauce, strawberries, pipe smoke, dark chocolate, herbs, dusty earth and a floral note. Middleweight cherry-driven flavor with a hint of spice, dried herbs, tobacco and even peach. Elegant, with soft tannins and respectable acidity, finishing with a citrusy cherry flavor. An interesting chameleon of a wine, but a bit strange in its combination of aromas and flavors. Good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »