Cart 0 items: $0.00

The Society BLOG

Together, wine, food, and travel make up three of life's greatest offerings. The Society Blog will feature expert experiences and opinions relating to these delicious topics. Here, we will freely discuss the diverse flavors of food, the inviting culture of wine, the vast nature of travel, and the ultimate experience you get when you combine the three!

Robert Smith
March 9, 2017 | Robert Smith

St. Paddy's Day - 90+ Point Food & Wine Pairings

St. Paddy’s Day

This holiday is celebrated every year on March 17th, honoring the Irish Patron Saint, St. Patrick. The celebrations are largely Irish culture themed and typically consist of wearing green, parades, all things Irish-from Leprechauns & Shamrocks, Corned Beef & Cabbage to the Color Green and Green Beer; and I mean Lots of Green Beer and even more so,  Irish Whiskey -but for me- Just Wine– I let everyone else enjoy the green beer….

So I thought I would take a moment to talk about St Patrick’s traditions and what St. Patrick’s means to me. St. Paddy’s has almost always involved time spent with friends and family, in taverns, restaurants and even street parties

Now, it is hard to avoid the obvious on St Paddy’s Day-Green Beer and Whiskey which are the usual suspects; however, here are some alternate choices that I will be thinking of when pairing wines to traditional Irish Fare…

What do you get when you cross a bottle of wine with a four-leaf clover?  
A rash of good luck-

St Patricks Day Master Sommelier 90+ Point Food and Wine Pairings

White Wines

Food & Wine Pairings

…if you are planning on Smoked Salmon and Soda Bread - try 2014 Chalone Vineyard Estate Chenin Blanc…tangerine pith, lime, honeycomb, with tones of chalk and river rock minerality… amazing citrus backbone fuses beautifully with the Salmon posing cleansing and refreshing notes…

…having Colcannon (mashed potatoes with kale –mmm) as a side dish - try 2013 Foley Chardonnay, Rancho Santa Rosa, Sta. Rita Hills - …nuances of orange blossom, linden, and honeysuckle & soft oak notes linger on the with nutmeg, vanilla and toasted pecans rounds beautifully.

Boiled Bacon & Cabbage in mind? Amazing with 2014 Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Gris. …pink grapefruit, kaffir lime, gardenia blossoms, -with Meyer lemon, white pepper and fresh picked vanilla bean

…if you are in the mood for Cockle & Mussel Chowder, try it with a bottle of 2012 Chalone Vineyard Estate Chardonnay - …orchard tones of pear, apple and quince with lemon zest and brioche completes the frame, whilst the citrus expresses the complex minerality and precise acidity landscape-

Red Wines

Food & Wine Pairings

2014 Two Sisters Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills - …cocoa dusted cherries, candied raspberries alongside blueberries and cranberries rounding with espresso, tobacco and slight herbal notes …is outstanding with Corned Beef Cabbage Turnovers – flaky crust and corned beef –amazing!

2013 Chalk Hill Estate Pinot Noir - …dark and red fruits of black cherry, raspberry, pomegranate alongside rose petals and mocha …Irish Pasties are savory roast beef and potato filled pastries - balanced by the depth of the Pinot’s fruit.

2012 Kuleto Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley - …elevated aromatics and densely flavored fresh blackberry, cracked black pepper, violets and fresh thyme dominate …has more than enough depth, fruit and body to elevate the cozy classic Shepherd’s Pie ; we should take more advantage of this combination.

2014 Guenoc Victorian Claret, North Coast … Black cherry jam, black currant, clove spice, Earl Gray tea, hints of baking spice & cocoa, leather and wet tobacco rounding the fine tannins… …loving me some Irish Lamb Stew-broad shoulders and fruit is mind-blowing with this filling dish…

Time Posted: Mar 9, 2017 at 1:01 PM
The Society
July 10, 2014 | The Society

Napa to Sonoma Update: Courtney Foley

My training progress is pretty minimal – I have developed plantar fasciitis – an inflammation of a band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, which runs under your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. This inflammation results in a deep, stabbing pain on the bottom of the heel, making it difficult for me to run. As a result of this, I’ve had to scale back my mileage and have had to stay in shape through other modes of exercise – mostly by riding my bike. I’ve found that switching to cycling while dealing with a running injury has been helpful because it helps strengthen the complementary muscles in my legs, and helps to increase leg turnover. Both of these things are crucial to being primed and ready for an upcoming race, and it is the next best thing to actually being able to run. Hopefully, with diligent attention to my aches and pains, and supplementing my normal running schedule with cycling, I'll still be able to finish the race, and with any luck, run it at pace!

In the meantime, to fuel my bike training I have been enjoying these homemade cherry-almond granola bars – these are incredibly easy to make, healthy and provide lasting energy for long rides.

- Courtney



Adapted from


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cups quick oats
1½ cups almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cherries
3 tablespoons brown sugar
⅓ cup honey
1½ cups almond butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides.

2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oats and toast until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the oats with the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. (This can be done by hand, but it’s especially quick in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.)

4. Press the oat mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Pop the pan into the refrigerator or freezer to let the mixture set for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into 12 evenly sized bars and serve. The bars will keep in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic for up to five days.

Time Posted: Jul 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM
The Society
October 15, 2013 | The Society

Pinot Noir: Complexity and Intense Aromatics

Pinot noir captures the imagination in all its manifestations, from austere and mineral-rich to super-ripe and chocolaty. Coveted by collectors and loved by pinophiles, this difficult-to-grow grape has an intricacy and intense aromatics that set it apart from other red wine grapes. Delicate, yet with the backbone to age gracefully, Pinot Noir has inspired many rhapsodic musings. Perhaps the most well-known was Miles' ode to pinot noir in the movie "Sideways": " can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."

Pinot Noir

The Foley Food & Wine Society encompasses six of these "tucked away corners of the world" where careful handcrafting brings the luster of the varietal in the truest expression of each terroir to the bottle.

Please visit our Exchange for a full listing of our Pinot Noir.

We've selected a few examples, across a diverse range of flavor profiles and of price points. This sampling of pinot noir would be a informational and delicious starting point to explore the variations of the grape. Some perfect food pairings for Pinot Noir: salmon, goat cheese, beets, mushrooms and triple cream Brie.

2010 Two Sisters Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

2010 Two Sisters Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills
Our 2010 Two Sisters Pinot Noir is complex, concentrated and elegant. The nose is high-toned, and intense with suggestions of sweet red fruit and mint. The palate is full, flavorful and juicy with seamless tannins and a finish that is long and persistent. These limited-production bottlings come from the best blocks of Pinot Noir (Lindsay’s Vineyard) at our estates in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. 

2011 Foley Barrel Select Pinot Noir

2011 Foley Barrel Select Pinot Noir
Our 2011 Barrel Select Pinot Noir is made from only the best hand selected fruit harvested from our Lindsay’s Vineyard. It is undeniably California in style with concentrated layers of bright cherry and raspberry fruit accompanied by sweet, floral undertones. The palate is rich and viscous with moderate tannins that act as a framework for the fruit. The finish is long, powerful and balanced.

2010 Lincourt Willie Mae Pinot noir

2010 Lincourt Willie Mae Pinot Noir
Our 2010 Willie Mae Pinot is powerful, lavish, ripe and structured. The nose is broad and complex with notes of root beer, cedar, black fruit and dried herbs. The flavors are rich, layered and juicy with an underlying acidity that a lively palate.

2011 Sebastiani Pinot Noir, Robert’s Vineyard

2011 Sebastiani Pinot Noir, Robert’s Vineyard
Our 2011 Robert’s Vineyard Pinot is more elegant than previous vintages with all the trademark earthiness and spice you would expect from this great site. The nose is subtle and demure with dark cherries, cranberries and a dash of forest floor. The palate is both velvety and crisp. This is a wine of great balance, style and refinement. Robert’s Vineyard is located in the cool, windy Carneros AVA at the southern end of Sonoma County.

2010 Lincourt Pinot Noir, Lindsay’s Vineyard

2010 Lincourt Pinot Noir, Lindsay’s Vineyard
Our 2010 Lindsay’s Pinot Noir has a deep crimson hue leading to classic Pinot aromas of cola, red and black cherries, candied strawberries and cassis. While the wine is blessed with firm acidity, it is broad, silky and balanced on the palate.

2010 Roth Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

2010 Roth Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Roth Estate is committed to making wines that best express the diverse and idyllic growing conditions in Sonoma County. The 2010 Roth Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is an elegant and fruit-forward wine. Vibrant hints of rose petals and raspberries are seamlessly integrated with a fine minerality, bright acidity, and hints of sweet vanilla on the finish.

2010 Sebastiani Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

2010 Sebastiani Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
The 2010 delivers more “Oriental Spice” in the nose and on the palate than past Pinot Noirs! It also has more acidity and less oak than past efforts. The highlights are maraschino and dark cherries followed by strawberries, mocha, vanilla and sandalwood. The finish is firm, tight and spicy with the underlying minerality we like to see in our Pinots.

"Of all the grapes that are transformed into fine wines, none are as steadfast as Pinot Noir in refusing to be tamed. If any grape would be at home in the pose of the femme fatale – smoke-curling from its lips, long, irresistible legs crossed as another winemaker is sent to his doom – it would be Pinot Noir." --Eric Asimov, New York Times


Time Posted: Oct 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM
The Society
October 8, 2013 | The Society

Luscious Red Blends from the Foley Food & Wine Society

France produces the most wine of any country and for generations it was the standard bearer for high-end wines, particularly Grand Cru Bordeaux. A certain snobbery in French wine circles existed until the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 where California wines won a blind tasting competition judged by the premiere wine experts at the time, beating wines from the top Grand Cru chateaus of France. Suddenly, the United States was front and center on the wine stage. Our wine industry has grown astronomically since then, both in terms of volume produced, number of wineries and accolades. Top American schools like UC Davis have been on the forefront of research on viticulture and viniculture, bringing a scientific backbone to the passion, intuition and experience of the best winemakers.

Foley Food & Wine Society

But, modernity is balanced with history as the French Bordeaux tradition of blending red grape varietals has been embraced by top American wine producers. A single varietal wine is like a solo musician. A blended wine is like a symphony with each varietal bringing its "voice"--a unique flavor profile, texture and color--to the mix. The winemaker can fine tune a blend like a conductor masterfully creates a well-balanced and intriguing composition.

Geoff Tate Insania Red

Bordeaux wines are roughly divided according to the wineries' position relative to the river Garonne. "Right bank" Bordeaux like Saint-Émilion and Pomerol use primarily Merlot, with the other Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carménère taking a smaller role.  The 2010 Geoff Tate Insania Red from Three Rivers Winery in Walla Walla wine country of Washington state is such a wine. A full-bodied Bordeaux blend sporting ripe blackberries, black pepper and cured meat in the nose, it was awarded 91 Points by Wine Enthusiast!

2007 Langtry

Another food friendly example is the 2007 Langtry "Old Soldier Road" Propriety Red, Tephra Ridge Vineyard from the Guenoc Valley of Lake County, just over Howell Mountain from Napa Valley. The wine is blended from selected barrels of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec from highest quality fruit grown on the hillside vineyard of acclaimed Tephra Ridge. Heady aromas of ripe strawberry jam, rhubarb, and spice lead to a silky soft entry. The tannins are soft, with the balanced acidity enjoy a long finish while making it food friendly.

2010 Foley Johnson Handmade Red Blend

The "left bank" Bordeaux blends, such as Château Haut-Brion and Château Latour,  highlight Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2010 Foley Johnson Handmade Red Blend from the Santa Ynez Valley lets the richness of Cabernet Sauvignon predominate in a wine that features red raspberry tones dancing at the higher end of the spectrum with hints of leather and sandalwood as well as vanilla and dusty earth. Individual barrels from special lots are blended to create this noble blend.

2007 Three Rivers Svelte

Wine Spectator liked the 2007 Three Rivers Svelte from the Columbia Valley so well they gave it 90 Points! Deep, dense, thick, and concentrated, it is an absolute blockbuster from the stellar 2007 growing season. Three Rivers Winery's flagship red blend, this profound wine is created after every barrel in their cellar is rated for color, aromatics, flavors, varietal and site accuracy, balance, intensity and complexity--then individually selected and blended.

Chalk Hill red wine

For a very special occasion, the 1.5 liter magnum of the 2008 Chalk Hill Red Blend delivers the ultimate expression of the famed Chalk Hill estate winery. The fruit is from low yielding, exposed, rocky, hillside estate vineyards that produce intense, extracted flavor in the grapes. Each lot was harvested and vinified separately-- a labor-intensive and costly procedure that yields a superior wine.

2011 Roth Heritage Red

Zinfandel is commonly thought of as "California's wine grape" due to its popularity in the Golden State and long history that dates back to the Spanish missions. You can sample this "New World" blend in the 2011 Roth Heritage Red that spotlights beautiful notes of blueberry pie, cherries and vanilla in a well-structured wine or the 2010 Sebastiani Heritage Red from Sonoma County, redolent with aromas of black olive, Earl Grey tea, black pepper, dark cherry and cedar/oak overtones. It's a fruit-forward blend with flavors of blackberries, blueberries and a blast of caramel/coconut oak.

2010 Sebastiani Heritage Red

The Foley Food & Wine Society encompasses a wide range of red blends, perfect for pairing with a great meal or for a red blend tasting party! Browse our selection of red blends HERE.


Time Posted: Oct 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM
The Society
September 25, 2013 | The Society

The Philanthropic Side of Foley Food & Wine Society

Bill Foley, founder of the Foley Food & Wine Society, gets a lot of press for his business acumen. Numerous writers have outlined his meteoric rise and the breadth of his holdings. In 1984, after practicing law for a few years, he bought a then small title-insurance company called Fidelity National Title, with just $40 million in revenues. Under Foley's leadership, Fidelity has grown exponentially, yielding $5.63 billion in revenue in 2012. The company has repeatedly been named to Fortune’s list of America’s Most Admired Companies.

Carol and Bill Foley

As a result of his hard work and business sense, Foley was able to acquire a diverse portfolio of wineries, restaurants and resorts which will be available for members of the new Foley Food & Wine Society, which see its launch this Saturday, September 28th at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara.

Foley Food & Wine Society launch party

Less well known, in keeping with their reputation for being "down-to-earth" and low-key, is the time and money that Bill and Carol devote to philanthropic causes. Their generous donations include $15 million to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where Bill earned his B.S. degree in Engineering, and  the support of the Jacksonville Cathedral Arts Project, which offers free after-school classes in visual and performing arts for elementary school students in Florida.

students at the School of Culinary Arts SBCC

The Foley have roots in Santa Barbara and have been members of the President's Council, the cornerstone of philanthropic support for the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College (SBCC). Long time advocates for education, they were happy to partner with the non-profit Santa Barbara Culinary Arts on the gala launch party of the Foley Food & Wine Society, knowing the net profits would further the education of students at the School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management at SBCC.

culinary students at Foley Food & Wine Society

Three top chefs from the School of Culinary Arts and from Santa Barbara Culinary Arts will be presenting their culinary creations at the launch party, aided by a team of current culinary students. At the launch party, you will have the chance to meet the students and chefs and sample delicacies like Smoked Salmon with Caviar and Crème Fraîche on Endive Pockets and Gorgonzola and Goat Cheese Tartlet with Fig Butter Topped with Fresh Fig, Toasted Walnuts, Local Honey and Micro-greens.


Santa Barbara Culinary Arts Presents the Foley Food & Wine Society Launch Party    
Saturday, September 28, 2013
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Bacara Resort & Spa - Santa Barbara, CA


Time Posted: Sep 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM
The Society
September 22, 2013 | The Society

Culinary Treats + Foley Family Wines

Would you love to learn more about pairing fine wine and food? If so, you are not alone. Chef-prepared cuisine with wine pairings comprise one of the fastest growing areas of the culinary field.

School of Culinary Arts at SBCC

The John Dunne Gourmet Dining Room at the School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) was the scene for a recent artistic and appetizing wine-food pairing. Chef Randy Bublitz, head of the school, prepared a fabulous five-course dinner to pair with a selection of delicious wines from the Foley Food & Wine Society, along with instructor Chef Stephane Rapp and a team of culinary students.

Chef Bublitz and Chef Rapp

The Foley Food & Wine Society encompasses a vast portfolio of wineries, resorts and restaurants. Owners Bill and Carol Foley have long had an interest in fine dining and in supporting education. They generously donated their wines to pair with the gourmet dinner:

2009 EOS Botrytised Semillon2010 Sebastiani Carneros Roussanne: A crisp and refreshing wine with notes of early-picked peach and tropical spice. The zingy, cool-climate profile made it a perfect match for the smoked salmon appetizers.

2011 Foley Johnson Estate Bottled Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford: A textbook Napa Sauvignon Blanc, the floral aromatics and peach and apricot flavors complemented the salad of roasted beets and smoked trout.

2009 Three Rivers Winery Cabernet Sauvignon: This 90 Point cab from Walla Walla delivered traces of black cherries, plums, cloves, tobacco and spices. It was paired with the tender and tasty veal chop with porcini glaze.

2009 EOS Botrytised Semillon, Chalk Hill: Full of aromas and flavors of baked apple, nutmeg, cinnamon, and honey, this wine was balanced with acidity and was paired with the cheese plate, including a brioche filled with molten St Andre cheese. Fabulous!

The last course was a decadent chocolate-chocolate torte.

The School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management program at Santa Barbara City College is staffed with top-notch chefs, restaurateurs, and hoteliers. Beyond classroom work, students receive hands-on training in realistic work environments, preparing food in the SBCC cafeteria, the gourmet dining room, the JSB coffee shop, catering for private parties, purchasing and receiving food shipments for the school, and utilizing state-of-the-art equipment. Their work garners high praise on Yelp and local media: "This is one of the best places to eat in SB…Everything is made from scratch and you can taste it...Would give 6 stars if I could."

Bacara Resort & Spa and the Foley Food & Wine Society

Taste the savory offerings from the culinary students and instructor Chef Stephane Rapp at the gala launch party of the Foley Food & Wine Society at the Bacara Resort & Spa on September 28th! Several of the successful culinary school graduates will be on hand to recount their experiences at the school.


Santa Barbara Culinary Arts Presents the Foley Food & Wine Society Launch Party    
Saturday, September 28, 2013
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Bacara Resort & Spa - Santa Barbara, CA


Time Posted: Sep 22, 2013 at 5:00 AM
The Society
August 23, 2013 | The Society

A Woman's View on Cabernet Sauvignon

I'd like to give my perspective on Cabernet Sauvignon--from the woman's point of view. The myth of women drinking only white wine seems as old-fashioned as fax machines and rotary phones. In the present day of smart phones and social media, today's woman is hip, wine savvy and responsive to new data promoting resveratrol in red wine as beneficial for heart health. Today's woman is as likely to reach for a rich, layered Cabernet Sauvignon as a glass of smooth, oaky Chardonnay.

Red wine is said to be heart-healthy because of the presence of antioxidants--called polyphenols--in red wine that may help protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart, reduce "bad" cholesterol and prevent blood clots. One polyphenol, called resveratrol, has been the focus of this health news.

Even though the health findings need to be confirmed, one fact stands out: according to a recent Nielsen poll, the majority of wine is purchased by women--55% compared to 45% bought by men. In a recent study in California, Cabernet Sauvignon was found to be the most popular wine for both men AND women. As a woman, I'm happy to know that I will be joined by both men and women in enjoying a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon--and when we toast to our health--we really mean it!

Our week-long celebration of Cabernet August 26th-30th brings a wealth of information from Foley Food & Wine Society winemakers. Five of our winemakers will be online, holding “virtual” tastings via Google+ Hangouts. Simply order your selection of Cabernet today. Then, sign up for Google+ Hangouts by clicking "RSVP" next to the chats you'd like join and taste along with the winemakers.


Time Posted: Aug 23, 2013 at 1:30 PM