Join Faith Armstrong Foster and Onward Wines

Sometimes you just have to taste it. It’s all well and good for me to wax lyrical about this wine or that, and many of you thankfully have grown to like my tastes and you buy the wines blind on my descriptions. But every now and again you need to try the wines before you buy them. Although simply opening a bunch of wine every Friday afternoon and having someone not related to the wines or the winery give a pre-written synopsis of what you are drinking is not my idea of having fun or adding to the buying experience. So, I have generally waited until we can invite the actual person – the wine-maker, the owner and the cellar rat all in one, before inviting everyone else to come and join us. And so, this Friday I am very excited to invite Faith Armstrong Foster to Wine at Five.

Faith is the ‘steward’ of 7 incredible vineyards including the Hawkeye Ranch, Babcok Vineyard, and Cerise Vineyard. I call her a steward since she does not own these vineyards, rather she tends the vines to produce her wines. “My style is about letting the vines speak. They are the art, I am the canvas, my job is to give them a chance to share their beauty in each and every vintage. My decisions are driven from the vineyard and the vintage, my cellar practices are to uphold the truths I find in the vineyard. To this end I pick early looking for balance of flavors at lower ripeness, as I find this is when each vineyard is in its most unique expression of self.”

We first started buying Faith’s wines a long time ago. But over the years we lost touch and there were changes in her distribution in NY that we did not stay up to date with. And so it was a very fortunate that one of my reps happened to bring her line-up of wines for us to taste. They were every bit as delicious as I remember. And when I was told that Faith would be in New York this week I jumped at the opportunity to invite her to the store.

These wines are the epitome of what I have tried to create at the retail level. Leave all the swill to the discount stores and stores that can’t be bothered to hire knowledgeable staff who are passionate about wine. Search out, taste and purchase wines that are made by wine-makers who do it for love, and a little bit of money! Wine-makers who are artists who create something worth buying. It really has been my mission to introduce people to such wine-makers and to such styles of wine. Faith represents exactly those attributes.

We will be tasting the following selection of her wines:

Onward 2017 Pétillant Naturel, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Hawkeye Ranch, Redwood Valley.
Yes indeed, a PetNat for the suburbs. “Making this wine is an emotional journey which is truly about passion.  For me this journey represents an amazing intersection of two love affairs; my love of making Pet Nat that began in 2013 with the Malvasia Pét Nat, and my love of making Hawkeye Ranch Rosé of Pinot Noir, which began in 2010.  This wine has been a long time coming, and while she made me work for it and loose plenty of sleep…it fills my heart and proves that good things come to those that wait!”

Farmstrong 2015 Field Red (Carignane, Syrah)
A blend of Carignane from three of Faith’s vineyard sites: Hawkeye Ranch, Knox Vineyard and Casa Roja Vineyards – where the Carignane vines are 120 years old! and Syrah from Ledgewood Vineyard in Suisun Valley. After fermenting in open top stainless steel tanks, they were finished in once-used and neutral oak barrel. The wine has loads of fruit, mellow tannins and complex aromatics. It will be a great summer red for those who dare to chill it – ever so slightly!

Onward 2014 Carignane, Hawkeye Ranch, Redwood Valley
Hawkeye Vineyard sits at 722 feet above the Pacific. The climate is cool, and the vines have been growing here for 80+ years. They are huge, more like trees than vines; “I can stand beneath the fruiting canopy of many of the vines.” If you ever wonder about the complexity of making a wine, check out how Faith described making this wine:
“A layer of whole cluster was placed at the bottom of the fermentor, then the remaining fruit was de-stemmed and the whole berries transferred to the open-top fermentation tanks to cold soak prior to fermentation, which allows for delicate extraction and adds complexity. Careful extraction is key here, as well as a modest amount of air from time to time. The fermentation is carried out at higher temperatures to soften tannins. After fermentation, the wine was pressed and sent to neutral French oak barrels, where malolactic fermentation was encouraged (by keeping them cozy and stirring).”
So, if this has whetted your appetite come and meet Faith this Friday, late afternoon to early evening. Meet her and taste the wines and help her make a little money! All artists need their works purchased.

And the pricing is:
PetNat Rosé: $35
Farmstrong Field Blend: $30
Onward Carignane: $32

These prices have been greatly discounted for this tasting only. The tasting is free, the bottles are not!