This week I pulled a bottle out of my collection – a 2012 Foxen Canyon Syrah from the Tinaquaic Vineyard, which had been DRY FARMED. You heard that right. Dry farmed.
While dry farming is not a new concept, it’s rarely done. This technique, which uses only the water that comes naturally, has been used for hundreds of years in the Mediterranean and was the only way California vintners grew grapes until the 1970s. The wine that won the “Judgement of Paris” (as seen in the movie “Bottleshock”) and put California wines on the International map, was dry farmed. Currently, only a handful of California wineries dry farm. This is too bad, given that the vines are adept at surviving draught (a common problem in California). However, dry farming typically produced smaller yields (meaning less wine!).
I picked up this bottle of wine in 2015 on an impromptu trip to Santa Ynez wine country. At the time, I was very excited to try a dry-farmed wine. I even kept my tasting notes: “rose petal, mint, blood orange, cherries.” I’m a giant fan of Syrah, and this one was fantastic! Big! Bold! Luscious!
Tasting it again, this week, I was delighted at how it aged. It had a gorgeous nose, with dark fruits and cloves. On the palate, I got cherry compote, blood orange, leather, and peppered beef jerky with grippy tannins. It was delightful and I drank the whole bottle. Thankfully, there were no allergic reactions, as Foxen is careful to have a very hands off approach with their sustainable winemaking. Cheers to that!