“The smack of Californian earth shall linger on the palate of your grandson.”
Robert Louis Stevenson, Silverado Squatters.
As you learn about Wilson Foreigner Winery and taste their wines, which I hope you do, keep this quote in your mind. To me it summarizes why they make wine. Let your mind go as you drink a bottle of Wilson Foreigner and you might believe it’s how they make wine, too.
As much as I’d like to say I pulled this quote from my internal library, I got it from the Wilson Foreigner website. (You can also find the Stevenson paragraph at the bottom of this page.) It’s a striking paragraph in Stevenson’s “Silverado Squatters” written in the late 19th century. The last sentence, the one above, sums up the mantra of Wilson Foreigner. They have utmost respect for heritage, history and Mother Earth.
Skills in viticulture and winemaking don’t hurt, either.
Some details: Wilson Foreigner is a partnership of two families. Wilson: I know David & Christine Wilson, who live on their family vineyard “Rancho Chimiles” in Napa’s Wooden Valley. Foreigner: that’s Chris and Suzaan Alheit. Born, raised, live and work in South Africa. David and Chris became friends working side-by-side for two vintages in the mid-2000s (one in South Africa, one in Napa Valley.) The four of them launched Wilson Foreigner in 2015.
I highly recommend all three wines made by Wilson Foreigner. One of them, the Valdiguié, comes from the Wilson family’s “Rancho Chimiles.” They acquire grapes from vineyards in the Sierra Foothills and Contra Costa County/Sacramento Delta for the other two. More on the vineyards and wines in just a second.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I’m into wines with soul. Meaning special vineyards, perfect for the grapes they grow, farmed with love and care for nature. Made to be full of flavor, character and personality. And balance…a lot but not too much. One of a kind wines. These wines strike that soulful chord with me and I hope with you too. All that and very fairly priced, too. Get some.
Wilson Foreigner just released their 2017s. All are available direct from the winery.
Members: the discount code was in the October 2 email I sent you.
If you need it again, contact me.
Non-members: Join today and I’ll send you that discount code.
WILSON FOREIGNER Albariño “Rorick Vineyard” Sierra Foothills 2017 ($28)
90 Points DDWA, Value Rating 3.2, VERY GOOD Value
From near the town of Murphys, a 2 ½ hour drive east of Napa. 2000 feet high, vines grow in rocks and minerals, hot summer days and cool nights. Not intuitive that Albariño can be great from here, but it is. I thoroughly enjoy the 2017 Albarino. It’s loaded with crisp yellow grapefruit, melon, tangerine, Eureka lemon and pear smells and flavors along with grapefruit blossoms, citrus zest and plain yogurt. A slight creamy texture on the back end counterbalances the high natural acidity. My complete Review.
WILSON FOREIGNER Valdiguié “Rancho Chimiles”
Napa Valley 2017 ($32)
88 Points DDWA, Value Rating 2.8, GOOD Value
The vines were planted in 1972 by David’s dad Terry Wilson. While most of the Valdiguie, a grape of southern French origin, have been replaced by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, 2 acres remain. Heritage. Gamay body and Syrah smells & flavors best describes the wine. Smell and taste dark cranberries, red plums, wild cherries, ruby grapefruit, cloves, cracked black pepper, tarragon. High, perky acidity (especially now-it’s a young one) and modest tannins. I suggest you buy some 2016 Valdiguie to drink this year and some 2017 to drink next. (Members get the discount on the 2016 as well.) My complete Review.
WILSON FOREIGNER Zinfandel “Del Barba Vineyard”
Contra Costa County 2017 ($30)
90 Points DDWA, Value Rating 4.5, AWESOME Value
These grapes come from vines as old as 107 years old. The riverbed sand soils of the area (Oakley, in this case) are famous for giving us wines full of fruit, spice, energy and f***ing deliciousness.
The Wilson Foreigner Zinfandel is a home run in my book. Smell and taste generous levels of dark strawberry and blueberry compote, fried cinnamon, black pepper and anise. It’s rich, balanced and goes down smooth and silky. Drink me anytime wine…enjoy now through, oh I don’t know, 2025 let’s say. Not that you’ll keep it around that long. This REALLY over-delivers for $30.
My complete Review.
“Wine in California is still in the experimental stage; and when you taste a vintage, grave economical questions are involved. The beginning of vine-planting is like the beginning of mining for precious metals: the wine-grower also “Prospects.” One corner of land after another is tried with one kind of grape after another. This is a failure; that is better, a third best. So, bit by bit, they grope about for their Clos Vougeot and Lafite. Those lodes and pockets of earth, more precious than the precious ores, that yield inimitable fragrance and soft fire; those virtuous Bonanzas, where the soil has sublimated under sun and starts to something finer, and the wine is bottled poetry: these still lie undiscovered; chaparral conceals, thicket embowers them; the miner chips the rock and wanders further, and the grizzly muses undisturbed. But there they bide their hour, awaiting their Columbus; and nature nurses and prepares them. The smack of Californian earth shall linger on the palate of your grandson.”
Robert Louis Stevenson, The Silverado Squatters (1884)