Foxen Winery

Owner(s) Dick Dore, Bill Wathen
Web site
Link to this site
Bill Wathen and Dick Dore have been making wine together since 1985, when they founded Foxen at the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in northern Santa Barbara County. Their first Pinot Noir came in 1989. They create very small production, vineyard-designate wines and have become quite famous since the winery was featured in the movie 'Sideways.' A number of varieties are produced, but the three Pinot Noirs come from Bien Nacido Vineyard, Sea Smoke Vineyard, and Julia's Vineyard. The wines are full-throttle, rich Pinot Noirs. The tasting room on Foxen Canyon Road is open daily.

Reviewed Wines

2016 Foxen Block 8 Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $60. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Very savory nose highlighting aromas of dried herbs, stem, saddle leather and tilled earth. Fruit shows up on the palate as sweet blackberry and pomegranate but still dominated by savory notes. Sleek in texture with mild tannins and a cut of citrus-infused fruit on the finish. More fruit comes to the forefront when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle. Score: 92. Reviewed September 19, 2021 ARTICLE »

2007 Foxen Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

15.2% alc., $45. Unfined, unfiltered. · Deep color. Oak char and ash dominate the aromas. Impenetrable prodigious black fruits with a vein of citrus in the background and flamboyant dry tannins on the finish. This wine will need another 2 to 3 years at least to emerge, but will always be a big wine. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Foxen Sea Smoke Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

15.5% alc., 475 cases, $63. · Unfined, unfiltered. Darkly colored. Enticing perfume of crushed sweet berries with an oak accent. A voluptuous wine of copious dark berry fruit framed by firm tannins that demands your attention. Veers toward Syrah and over time in the glass becomes jammy and bit tiring. This wine makes a statement and will have fans of its Parkeresque style but its over the top for me. POP 91, WS 94. Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »

2006 Foxen Winery Block 8 Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 480 cases, $54. Primarily Wädenswil with some Dijon 115 and Pommard. 100% whole berry de-stemmed, 4-5 day cold soak, 10-14 day active fermentation with punch down twice daily, partial lots undergo extended maceration for 30 days. Aged 16 months in 60% new French oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration. · The flavors trump the nose at this time. Rather subdued aromas of dark fruits, tobacco and fresh veggies. Intense and ripe dark raspberry flavor. Very smooth in the mouth with supple tannins and a mildly tart citric finish. This wine almost seems like a Pinot Noir in Rhone clothing. I like it for its individuality. The wine improved from the opened bottle later in the day indicating a long life ahead. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Foxen Winery Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 450 cases, $54. Pommard clone. 100% whole berry de-stemmed. 5 day cold soak, 10 day fermentation with punchdowns twice daily. Aged 16 months in 65% new French oak barrels. · Vigorous with flavor and character featuring herbinfused dark stone fruit with char and cola highlights. Packed and stacked with flavor but smooth and polished. The deep berry flavors leave a memorable impression on the lengthy finish. A delicious wine. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2003 Foxen Bien Nacido Vineyards Block Eight Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 425 cases, $48. This block was planted in 1996 with clones 2A, Sanford & Benedict (Mt. Eden), 113, 115, and Pommard. · A very darkly-colored wine of great intensity. Plenty of sweet, fresh, vivid fruit with power to thrill. A bit of heat peaks out on the finish. Reviewed August 24, 2007 ARTICLE »

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