Andrew Jones is the mastermind behind the wonderful and sometimes wild wines of Field Recordings. Field recordings is an unusual entity and one that is definitely worth your while exploring! Andrew pretty much fell into the path of becoming a winemaker and his story goes something like this... From a small suburb of Los Angeles Andrew won a college football scholarship, which took him to Santa Barbara. A nasty car accident sadly ended Andrew's sporting career but opened the doors to agriculture. After a short period of working on strawberry farms early in his school days he decided viticulture was the route for him (why would you not choose wine over dairy and poultry!?). In the Spring of 2002 Andrew moved to London and during this time he met the masterminds behind the great Gallo Family. He moved back to California, now in Sonoma, and worked for Gallo for a short period until, through friends and fate, he was introduced to the owners of a vine nursery. In 2003 Andrew accepted the job they offered, and has been working for them ever since. Andrew is not just a salesman. He is an expert in rootstocks, clones, varieties and their favoured terroirs. He is part of the full journey that goes into working with growers and winemakers from choosing vines and grape varieties right through to planting, caring, nurturing and working with them to learn their vines and soils.
Andrew has a passion and depth of knowledge that is hypnotic to any wine and vine lover! So, it's no wonder over the past 20 years he has established some solid friendships. It was with the help of these relationships that Field Recordings was born. With all his knowledge of viticulture Andrew wanted to enjoy experimenting with making wine - although he has never received any formal training. Andrew currently makes an amazing 30 different wines (2020) all in small quantities. He works with a handful of growers in Central and North Coast California. Andrew buys his grapes primarily from four vineyards: Jurassic Park (Los Olivos), Koligian (Paso Robles), Old Portero (Huasna), Spanish Springs (Pismo Beach). In 2017 he purchased his first vineyard (just a few acres). All of the grapes that Andrew work with come from sustainably farmed vineyards and 75% are certified organic moving in the direction of becoming 100% organic in the very near future. Some of the criteria that has brought Andrew to working in such locations has been his search for rougher sites often with untapped potential; he is happy to take small quantities of fruit and great wines that represent these unique terroirs. Finding locations that can capture acidity (of course CA is full of heat and sunshine!) in the grapes is essential, Andrew believes, to creating quality wines with balance, complexity and length.
Field Recordings produce a number of wines under different labels: Wonderwall, Fiction, Alloy and the Fabelist and at OWC we currently stock the Wonderwall Chardonnay. Each wine and each label or line is treated with the utmost care and attention of its own specific needs, taking into consideration the style of wine desired and how to best reflect the terroir. There are a few winemaking techniques that apply to all Andrew's wines: No fining, no additives, natural yeasts and all wines go through a gentle filtration process. Andrew does use oak on some of his wines, old and new, but he is very specific about how the wood is treated, where is comes from and how/where is it matured. Cooperage for Andrew is a delicate balance that requires knowledge, experience, experimentation... it is time and money worth spending to ensure the wines are enhanced by oaking but never overwhelmed. Most of his barrels are French.
Wonderwall Chardonnay is a wine with an immense layering of complexity and pleasure. It is a Chardonnay to challenge all Chardonnays! The aromas are intense, tropical and citrus jump from the glass with underlying limestone-like tones (almost reminiscent of a Riesling!) The palate is rich and round with lashings of fruit, high acidity, minerality, a calming savoury edge and a long tantalising finish. A great wine fit for many occasions! Hearing all of this, it will not surprise you to learn that Chardonnay is Andrew's favourite grape variety. "If I had the chance to go back and do this all again I would make only Chardonnay" Andrew Jones, 2020. The grapes for Wonderwall come from Andrew's friends in the Edna Valley - California's coolest wine region. The wine is barrel fermented and 15% of the blend spends time in new French oak. This wine is a blend of two chardonnay clones - a neutral clone and a muscat clone. The muscat clone of Chardonnay is known for its big fruity character.
All the labels for Field Recordings are designed by Andrew. Firstly, the name Field Recordings has no musical link (although Andrew is BIG into his music), it instead denotes the fact that Andrew has sourced grapes from a variety of 'fields' and the wines are the 'recordings' of his finds. Wonderwall (nothing to do with the Oasis song, although it is often played at the winery's tasting rooms for a bit of fun) is a term that Andrew associates with the idea of always searching for your dreams but often coming up against 'a wall' in the process. Chardonnay was Andrew's wonderwall, his favourite grape variety and the cause of many headaches and frustrations. Each vintage shows a different graphic on the label and the 2018 vintage was a depiction of famous musicians that, in Andrew's opinion (and we agree!), came close to achieving their dreams, broke musical records and changed minds! The character perched on the label of the Wonderwall Chardonnay 2018 is Duke Ellington, the famous Jazz musician.