NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

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Dustin Swenson
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NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#1 Post by Dustin Swenson » January 14th, 2020, 1:20 pm

Kelley Fox Wines is honored to be requested by so many great people to participate in this upcoming Berkerker Day. We have met such wonderful members of this forum over the past couple years and it only makes sense to be a part of this celebration.

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A not so quick intro (pulled directly from our website): Kelley Fox Wines is a small winery I created in 2007 along with my father, Gerson "Gus" Stearns. Though I have lived in the Willamette Valley for over 28 years, and I find myself loving Oregon more every year. The first vintage (2007) started with just over 100 cases. The annual case production is now between 2700 and 3000 cases, all from the historic Maresh Vineyard, the Demeter-certified biodynamic Momtazi Vineyard (both since the beginning) along with Hyland (1988 Coury Clone Pinot), Freedom Hill (barrel-fermented Pinot blanc), and beginning in 2018/19, Carter Vineyard, Canary Hill Vineyard, Weber (1983 and 1988 Pinot), and Durant Vineyard (Chardonnay). Both Weber and Durant are family owned and farmed old vine vineyards in the Dundee Hills.

I've been a full-time, year-round, on-the-floor Oregon Pinot noir winemaker since 2000. My education includes a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Biology from Texas AM University. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with dual degrees in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Oregon State University and was admitted to the PhD program in Biochemistry.

Before completing the doctorate, I changed my path to pursue winemaking. I learned winemaking not from a classroom or textbooks or from other regions, but directly from Oregon winemakers who had put in some serious time. I was deeply influenced by my dear friend and former employer, the late David Lett of The Eyrie Vineyards. David was the ultimate iconoclast who pioneered the Oregon wine industry in the 1960’s.

My winemaking experience includes Torii Mor, Hamacher, and Eyrie, and ten years as winemaker at Scott Paul Wines (August 2005 to about mid-April 2015). I now happily work for my own winery exclusively.

THE WINES
The wines are made to reflect the land, the vines, the fruit of the vines, the year, and everything else unknown and unseen that comes with those things. They are Oregon wines, and hopefully, they are wines specifically of their vineyards. That said, the wines are not really "made" at all. I have no end result in mind each year for what the wines will be. I am not Pygmalion. What I am doing-and it still takes a lot of inner and outer work- is responding to the essence of the fruit from each block, which I hope is carrying the essence of the earth that bore it, along with the details of the year ( the weather, the stars and the planets, etc. etc.).

WINEMAKING
• Uninoculated (no commercial yeasts)
• Absolutely no enhancements such as and not limited to: colour-increasing/stabilizing enzymes, adds to build the mid-palate(they are in themselves harmless), clarification enzymes, enzymes in general, fining agents, gum arabic, tannins, oak dust, etc.etc. In other words, the only additives are sulfur, and in very warm vintages, food-grade tartaric acid sourced from grapes. And in extremely cool vintages, cane sugar, and not much.
• Ferments are 1 to 1.5 tons in size (very small)
• Each year and each vineyard and each block and fermentor-are treated individually-I have no formulaic “crush protocol” whatsoever.
• I pick on biodynamically-favourable dates-by taste and feel, knowing the vineyards-with little regard for perfect numbers and phenomena such as “ripe tannins”
• 30-70% whole cluster from 2011 through 2014. 100% whole cluster in 2015 and 2016, and in all future vintages back to the 2011-2014 percentages
• No formal “cold soak”, since the fruit is often picked very early in the morning and arrives in great shape
• No pumpovers (not implying that pumpovers are unsuitable for wine in general) and always pigeages (I enter my wines with my body to manage the caps-just me)
• Fermentations from beginning to end range from 12-20 days, depending, as always.
• I do all of the work on my wines personally from picking through bottling, the exceptions being the bottling line and triage during processing. I can’t do those things alone. I do most of the canopy work in my Maresh Vineyard blocks in solitude as well, the exception being pruning. I have been pruning with the crew for some time now. 2.29 acres of these vines were planted on their own roots and dry-farmed, organically, since 1970. One acre was planted on their own roots and farmed the same way since 1978. The rest of my Maresh fruit comes from blocks farmed by Jim Maresh Sr.
• The Maresh and the Momtazi bottlings so far have been 100% free-run. The rest of my Maresh fruit has been coming from blocks Jim Maresh Sr. has personally farmed.
• The wines are pressed at dryness in a modern basket press through 2014 and a pneumatic press 2015 and beyond. Both the free-run and press wine are settled-separately-before barreling down
• Malolactic fermentations to date have been spontaneous
• Bottling is about 10 months post-picking and on biodynamically-favourable dates
• Most often I don’t rack my wines once the barrels are filled at harvest until assemblage/bottling
• I used less than 30% new oak in 2007, 2008, and 2009. From 2010 onwards, far less and often none. Zero new oak since 2012 and going forward.
• I personally top my barrels every 7-14 days
• I pay a lot of attention to the moon and the planets and their always-changing relationships and energy throughout the year-not that I act on it that much in a way that can be articulated-mainly letting things flow with those things instead of trying to counter them
• My wines are deeply loved-I am not kidding-I wish I were, because it sounds so horribly canned/new age/crazy.
• Please understand that the way I do things does not imply that I am against my peers doing things differently or that it is “wrong” etc.

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Peter Petersen
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#2 Post by Peter Petersen » January 14th, 2020, 1:55 pm

Dustin, Great to see you here! Looking forward to checking out the offer.

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#3 Post by Scott Tallman » January 14th, 2020, 2:41 pm

Top tier OR Pinot in my book, not to mention Pinot Blanc. Need to try her new Chardonnay. And Kelley is awesome!
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#4 Post by Mattstolz » January 14th, 2020, 4:11 pm

absolutely cannot say enough positive things about Kelley, Dustin, or these wines. Anyone who loves pure, elegant, site driven wines that hasn't tried them should be all over whatever offers Dustin puts out on BD. If you've had them before, you don't need me to tell you that because you were already planning on doing so.

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#5 Post by brigcampbell » January 14th, 2020, 6:36 pm

This was a very popular requested winery. Look forward to snapping up something.

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#6 Post by Scott Watkins » January 14th, 2020, 7:17 pm

Very happy to see this, Kelley and Dustin are killing it!
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#7 Post by Mattstolz » January 14th, 2020, 7:30 pm

also, Dustin, I would like to know where Kelley got an "I <3 Volnay" shirt.

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#8 Post by Josh Grossman » January 14th, 2020, 8:28 pm

Excited to try these wines!

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#9 Post by Dale McClaran » January 15th, 2020, 12:05 am

Mattstolz wrote:
January 14th, 2020, 4:11 pm
absolutely cannot say enough positive things about Kelley, Dustin, or these wines. Anyone who loves pure, elegant, site driven wines that hasn't tried them should be all over whatever offers Dustin puts out on BD. If you've had them before, you don't need me to tell you that because you were already planning on doing so.

Massive + 1!!!!!
GO HAWKS!

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#10 Post by mike pobega » January 15th, 2020, 2:23 am

Some of the most thoughtful and passionately made wines I have ever enjoyed. Love Kelley Fox Pinots.

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#11 Post by Jim Stewart » January 15th, 2020, 4:51 am

Interesting intro . With her background and her wine making approach, Kelley seems to have both the left brain and the right brain going pretty strong. I like that combo. Looking forward to trying her wine.
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But I've just noticed that my mind is asleep.
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Dustin Swenson
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#12 Post by Dustin Swenson » January 15th, 2020, 9:23 am

Thanks everyone for all the love!

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#13 Post by Jared Wagner » January 15th, 2020, 11:37 am

Can't tell you how excited I am that Kelley is going to be a part of BD11. I'm buying whatever she's selling!

I have absolutely fallen in love with Kelley Fox, and the wines aren't bad either! Wish I would have found her wines sooner, as they have left a profound effect on me.

Kelley Fox Rules!!

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#14 Post by CliftonD » January 15th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Oh can't wait for some of this!
D - o - n - g

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#15 Post by PeterH » January 15th, 2020, 1:06 pm

I know Pinot Noir is the main draw, but I hope some Pinot Blanc makes it into the BD offering.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#16 Post by Adam Frisch » January 15th, 2020, 10:10 pm

Just had my first the other week. Absolutely loved it. World class.
Sabelli-Frisch Wines

Owner, proprietor and winemaker (with a little help) at Sabelli-Frisch Wines. I make wine from low-impact vineyards, focus on rare, forgotten, under-appreciated or historic grape varietals. Mission grape is my main red focus. IG: sabellifrisch

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#17 Post by Steve Brickley » January 16th, 2020, 7:35 pm

The CellarTracker scores and reviews are impressive, too. Hopefully, see some library PN show up.
Steve

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#18 Post by brigcampbell » January 17th, 2020, 2:38 pm

Steve Brickley wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 7:35 pm
The CellarTracker scores and reviews are impressive, too. Hopefully, see some library PN show up.
First Berserkerday and you want library wine?

Well... Let's just say Kelley Fox is a true berserker.

[berserker.gif] [berserker.gif] [berserker.gif]

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#19 Post by Tom C » January 17th, 2020, 3:13 pm

Kelley Fox's wines are incredible. Buy with confidence.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#20 Post by Eric Guido » January 18th, 2020, 9:29 am

This is a very exciting addition to the line up. Kelley's wines are so beautiful.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#21 Post by Leonard Taylor » January 19th, 2020, 4:49 pm

Totally psyched about this Kelley. We had such a great time visiting with you a couple of years ago and we love your wines. I can't wait to see your offers. Your wines are incredible.
Leonard Taylor

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#22 Post by Ian H » January 20th, 2020, 11:30 am

I just saw this, can't recommend highly enough. Many of my best Oregon pinot experiences have been with Kelley Fox wines.
@@S

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#23 Post by Charlie Carnes » January 21st, 2020, 2:07 pm

OK this is exciting!
So shines a good deed in a weary world!

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#24 Post by John Glas » January 21st, 2020, 3:47 pm

Look forward to your offerings!

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#25 Post by Jay Miller » January 22nd, 2020, 1:05 am

Lovely, distinctive wines and, based on my one visit to the winery, a lovely distinctive person.

Fellow AFWE members may buy with confidence.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#26 Post by T. Melloni » January 22nd, 2020, 7:52 pm

Add my voice to the chorus singing excitement about Kelley Fox wines as part of BD 2020.
Many folks on this board have sung their praises; I am on a quest to give these wines a try.
Thanks to all who made this happen. Will be on the lookout for the offer.
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Everybody's bragging and drinking that wine
I can tell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shines. . .

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#27 Post by Brad S c h i e r » January 23rd, 2020, 11:50 am

Well they had me until the Texas A&M reference. I guess you could call this a "Cult" Winery. I jest - been reading some good things and looking forward to trying some. Thanks for participating.

Brad (Longhorn affiliation to explain the above)

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#28 Post by Eric W » January 23rd, 2020, 10:45 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
January 22nd, 2020, 1:05 am
Lovely, distinctive wines and, based on my one visit to the winery, a lovely distinctive person.
Yeah, what Jay said. And confirmed with subsequent visits.
E _ W i 1 s o n

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#29 Post by Ryan A » January 24th, 2020, 8:55 am

Jay (and others) Are these truly AFWE?
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#30 Post by Scott Tallman » January 24th, 2020, 9:13 am

Yes
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#31 Post by Ryan A » January 24th, 2020, 9:59 am

Thanks Scott very helpful.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#32 Post by Scott Tallman » January 24th, 2020, 10:21 am

Ryan A wrote:
January 24th, 2020, 9:59 am
Thanks Scott very helpful.
For a bit more color, her Maresh bottlings are pure as the driven snow - strawberries, cherry, tea, earth - and the color is amazingly light. When I first tasted one of her wines, a 2013 Maresh, I kept exclaiming over the color. Her Momtazi wines are darker and more robust than her Maresh bottlings, but still very much AFWE reflecting that site. I prefer Maresh if I had to pick, but own many Momtazi bottlings and look forward to drinking them. IIRC, she is no longer making wine from Momtazi, so I’d grab some of her remaining stock.

Although I do own some, but not tried them yet, I’m sure her newer vineyard bottlings (Hyland Vineyard and Mirabai, which now has some Weber Vineyard with Maresh) are also AFWE.

I have drank a fair amount of her 2010-2013 PN bottlings, but as she noted in the intro above, she switched to 100% stems after those vintages. While I’ve tasted a few at the winery and they were exceptional, you may want to check notes on CT or here before PnP any of the SVD bottlings or give them ample air, if you open them at all. Her Mirabai and Ahurani bottlings, which are super delicious in their own right and insane QPRs, May be better bets to open out of the gate to get a sense of her style while your SVDs sleep.

Don’t sleep on her Pinot Blancs, which for me are an exemplar for the Willamette Valley.
Last edited by Scott Tallman on January 24th, 2020, 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#33 Post by Jared Wagner » January 24th, 2020, 3:20 pm

Scott Tallman wrote:
January 24th, 2020, 10:21 am
Ryan A wrote:
January 24th, 2020, 9:59 am
Thanks Scott very helpful.
For a bit more color, her Maresh bottlings are pure as the driven snow - strawberries, cherry, tea, earth - and the color is amazingly light. When I first tasted one of her wines, a 2013 Maresh, I kept exclaiming over the color. Her Momtazi wines are darker and more robust than her Maresh bottlings, but still very much AFWE reflecting that site. I prefer Maresh if I had to pick, but own many Momtazi bottlings and look forward to drinking them. IIRC, she is no longer making wine from Momtazi, so I’d grab some of her remaining stock.

Although I do own some, but not tried them yet, I’m sure her newer vineyard bottlings (Hyland Vineyard and Weber Vineyard, which now has some Weber Vineyard with Maresh) are also AFWE.

I have drank a fair amount of her 2010-2013 PN bottlings, but as she noted in the intro above, she switched to 100% stems after those vintages. While I’ve tasted a few at the winery and they were exceptional, you may want to check notes on CT or here before PnP any of the SVD bottlings or give them ample air, if you open them at all. Her Mirabai and Ahurani bottlings, which are super delicious in their own right and insane QPRs, May be better bets to open out of the gate to get a sense of her style while your SVDs sleep.

Don’t sleep on her Pinot Blancs, which for me are an exemplar for the Willamette Valley.

Scott,

Couldn't agree with you more. Especially regarding the Pinot Blancs. Here are a few notes from some recent KF wines:

2017 Freedom Hill PB
Popped and poured. Absolutely delicious bottle of PB that surprised and thrilled. Gorgeous color of honey-yellow that wowed with aromas of white peach, apricot, and pear. Palate was laced with an unmistakable minerality that gave structure to the exquisitely textured ripe fruit. To be honest, didn't know a domestic PB could be this complex and taste this good. 93pts.

2018 Freedom Hill PB
ust an absolute pleasure to drink. Gorgeous yellow color immediately puts you in the mood to drink this wine. Nice combination of pear, apple, and citrus on the nose. Palate is also loaded with some ripe pear and quince accented by just enough zip to keep you going back to the glass. Not quite as much energy as the 2017, but an absolute delightful Wednesday night wine! 92pts

2017 Maresh Star of Bethlehem Flower Block Pinot
Kelley Fox tasting. If anything in the world could transform me into Flavor Flav, this wine would be it as after each drink I was literally saying, "Boyyyyyyyyyy!" Gorgeous wine filled with strawberries, currants, hints of violet, and spices all in perfect balance. Supremely long finish. Kelley Fox wines have altered my perception of what I want in a wine. 95pts.

2017 Maresh Red Barn Blocks Pinot
Decanted for an hour. The first thing this wine shows you is a gorgeous transparent ruby color, so light. The second thing it reveals is the most pretty nose of any wine I've ever drank -- the absolute purest wild strawberries, rose petal, and earth. Red fruits galore on the palate. A stunner. 94pts.

2016 Momtazi Pinot
Slow ox'ed for about 4 hours and then left in the glass for another 45 minutes. 100% whole cluster and no new wood bottle of pure joy. After putting the glass to my nose for the fist time, all I could think about was...Strawberry fields forever. Those strawberries were buffeted by red cherry, roses, and freshly disturbed earth. I've written this several times in other notes but it has never been more apt in this case, I could smell this wine forever without taking a sip and be content. The palate is medium-weight with bright wild cherry, strawberry, mushroom, herbs, and a dose of minerality. The finish is long and lingers in waves on your tongue. Simply a gorgeous bottle of Pinot. 94pts

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Kelley Fox Wines

#34 Post by dcornutt » January 26th, 2020, 3:28 am

SO happy you guys are going to participate Dustin. Kelley's wines are some of the best in Oregon. I hope I can sneak in a few BD specials.
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