Foppiano GM Rob McNeill and winemaker Nova Perrill, are both guests on California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger.
Nova became the Foppiano Vineyards winemaker in 2014 and Rob became GM in 2017. Rob had made sparkling wine and he wanted to make some at Foppiano, so he introduced Nova to it.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have taken over a lot of acreage, and Napa Valley wineries are buying Sonoma County Pinot Noir fruit. Since most of Russian River Valley is Pinot Noir, what is left of the Cabernet growing in Sonoma is very distinctive in Cab character. Growing it in warm climates sacrifices the aromatics that you get from cooler Napa valley. So these Cabs from Russian River have full Cabernet character. The average consumer has not tasted these aromatics in 20 years, because of the way Napa makes Cabernet today. This Russian River Cabernet has all the flavors of dried grass, green pepper and red pepper that Cab should always have.
Wine is beautifully simple. Wine will essentially make itself, under certain parameters. Sparkling winemaking is taking those parameters and making them as complicated as possible … and the product makes it worthwhile. -Nova Perrill.
Nova says that the varietal and the region are a team. Foppiano is located in northern tip of Russian River, near Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley, which give a warmer influence.
Dan Berger says that Foppiano is most famous for Petit Syrah, which is their flagship wine. They are committed to consistency in its production. It is tannic but moderated by its fruity flavors. Dan has some Petit Syrahs that are 35 or 40 years old. Clark Smith did a survey of the oxygen appetite of all the grape varieties. He discovered that the grape variety with the greatest capacity for absorbing oxygen is Petit Syrah.