This limited bottling offers the opportunity to discover the intriguing personality of Cabernet Franc, which is a variety often used in blending Bordeaux-style wines. We sourced Cabernet Franc from the Tamagni Vineyard on the northeast side of Napa Valley, just south of Calistoga. Match our Cabernet Franc with similarly bold flavors, such as grilled steak, lamb with cilantro pesto, or lasagna layered with mushrooms and roasted red peppers.
Barrel Aging: 20 Months, 100% French Oak (35% New)
Varietal Composition: 86% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon
Production: 407 cases
Cabernet Franc is often used to enhance the framework of a Bordeaux-style wine, but we found a vineyard near Calistoga that yielded wine so delicious—with all the elements needed to stand alone—that we decided it merited a special bottling. Layers of violet, black tea and dark chocolate surround its deep core of blackberry and plum expression. An herbal note mingles with smoky spices from toasted French oak, adding even more intrigue to the aromas and expansive, lingering flavors. Muscular tannins from the 2008 vintage structure the wine and contribute to its aging potential.
Our Cabernet Franc comes from Tamagni Vineyards, a rocky, well-draining site located along the Silverado Trail just south of Calistoga. We added a small amount of fruit from neighboring Three Palms Vineyard—another favorite vineyard of ours. Cabernet Franc’s history has been unearthed through DNA research; it is one of the parents, along with Sauvignon Blanc, of Cabernet Sauvignon. Although Cabernet Franc has been known for centuries in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley as a blending grape, this special bottling shows that it also shines on its own.
The 2008 growing season presented its fair share of challenges for California’s winemakers, yet this Cabernet Franc proves that Napa Valley was blessed—once again—with many truly remarkable wines. Although spring frosts reduced yields, we were rewarded with rich, muscular Cabernet Franc graced by deep, dark color and highly nuanced aromas and flavors.
After hand harvesting the fruit and then hand sorting it twice at the winery, we gently destemmed the grapes to retain at least 60 percent whole berries. Three days of cold soaking before fermentation gently extracted the deep purple color and rich varietal flavors from the skins. Following fermentation, extended skin contact and gentle pressing, the wine completed malolactic fermentation in barrels to round the acidity. Aging in 35 percent new, medium-toast French oak barrels married the rich Cabernet Franc flavors with toasty oak tones. Four gentle rackings clarified the wine and we bottled it without fining.