When we began our exploration of Cabernet Franc we set out with the goal to present a wine that was ‘true to type,’ or in wine-speak, a wine that showed ‘typicity’ – boldly saying ‘Cabernet Franc’! Our exploration, in progress for over a decade, brings us to the rows of many vineyards in very diverse growing conditions. For seven vintages we have been focused a little north of us [north of Napa Valley that is] in the hills of Lake County. We have been working with vineyards ‘up’ in Lake County long enough to have found growers who are passionate in providing us with the grapes we need to help express our Cabernet Franc vision.
The 2010 is an assemblage of four vineyards, three stretching from the western shores of Clear Lake to the northern reaches of Lake County and the Sugarloaf Vineyard in Napa Valley. A small percent, the Sugarloaf, located in a cool southeastern vineyard in Napa Valley, provides that bright crisp cherry aroma and flavor component. The High Chaparral Vineyard, located high up in the real red hills of Lake County just north of Kelseyville was planted back in the 70’s. It is the only Cabernet Franc vineyard we know of that is planted on its own roots - a true Franc de Pied providing deep structure and lovely fruit tannins. Also above the 2,000ft elevation in the High Valley appellation of Lake County are the Cross Spring Vineyards and La Sierra. The grapes from here provide us with an exciting facet in our goal to express ‘typicity’ in our North Coast bottling.
The 2010 North Coast Cabernet Franc has a bright, clear violet blue color. The aromas display firm red berry, gentle lavender and licorice overtones. The palate provides a supple counter to the bright aromas yet shows a slightly huskier structure than most recent past vintages. Its vibrancy makes for early enjoyment but its structure and firm tannins will allow for some softening with cellar aging. Brilliant when shared and enjoyed among family and friends!