WineSmith 2015 Cabernet Franc

The father of Cabernet Sauvignon, this grape is among the most challenging to work with and seldom is bottled as a pure varietal. Its great vigor requires bright sunlight and a limiting soil to prevent excessive fruit shading, but its delicate aromas will also easily burn off.

Diamond Ridge is located in a sunny, high altitude site with rocky volcanic soils which force Cabernet Franc to put its energy into pushing its roots down into the rock, resulting in a lively mineral energy in the wine’s finish. These conditions develop good color and firm but refined tannins which impart amazing age-worthiness.

Because of its proximity to Clear Lake, the site is also blessed with a “lake effect” -- a daily visit from the cooling breezes off this deep body of water, largest in the State. The consequence is that the plum and cinnamon aromas the grape develops are conserved. The combination of rich fruit aromatics, firm tannin structure and lively minerality make this among the most complete and collectible expressions of Cabernet Franc in the New World.

The 2015 was harvested on September 28, fermented traditionally with extended maceration, and aged in neutral French oak for 66 months to resolve its incredible reductive strength. For roundness and fat, we co-fermented with 22% Merlot. Age has added a tobacco bouquet to its spicy cherry and rosemary aromas which resemble a well-aged Graves. The resulting palate possesses a sweet core of fruit which is framed by soft tannins and a bright mineral finish.

A perfect accompaniment to steak béarnaise or wild mushroom dishes, the wine loves open fires and Bruce Springsteen’s Jungleland.