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. Two favorite pairings: pancetta-wrapped beef filet with roasted Brussels sprouts, and portobella and spinach lasagna layered with smoked provolone cheese.
We sourced the Cabernet Franc from Tamagni Vineyards, which is located along the Silverado Trail just south of Calistoga. Cabernet Franc is often used to enhance the framework of Bordeaux-style wines, but this warm vineyard site, with its well-draining, low-vigor, rock-and-clay soils, yields a wine with all the elements to shine on its own. A splash of Merlot, from neighboring Three Palms Vineyard, and Cabernet Sauvignon, from Hewitt Vineyard in Rutherford, complemented the wine’s flavors and texture. Cabernet Franc’s history has been unearthed through DNA research; it is one of the parents, along with Sauvignon Blanc, of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Heralded as a near-flawless vintage in Napa Valley, 2010 had the latest onset to harvest in several decades. We crushed the first grapes after Labor Day, about two weeks later than average. The late onset to harvest resulted from above-average rainfall and cool temperatures that persisted into May, followed by a mostly cool, foggy summer that slowed fruit maturity. But just as we started worrying that the grapes would never ripen, Mother Nature surprised us with heat spells to boost their flavors and sugar levels. The long hangtime and full maturity added up to exceptionally rich wines with exquisite balance.
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. Three gentle rackings naturally clarified the wine, while barrel aging married the rich Cabernet Franc flavors with toasty oak tones. We bottled it without fining.