Los Palos Cabernet Franc, Mendocino County, California, 2013

75% Cabernet Franc, 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon


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The Place

If you drive an hour northeast from the town of Cloverdale along meandering country roads you may eventually encounter a remote mountaintop vineyard and winery. Perched nearly 2500 feet above sea level, rows of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon stand above the early morning fog to warm themselves in the sunshine. The vineyard is so far away from touristy tasting rooms and thirsty crowds, it probably sees more visits from deer, bear, and bobcats each year.

 

Vineyard & Soils

The vineyard is far enough north and high enough in elevation that it is one of the few places in California where snow falls on the vines. This is a cool climate vineyard which enables the fruit to hang on the vine for longer without losing its natural acidity and firm texture. And, the deep gravel, sandstone and shale soils drain quickly and allow the root system to run deep for nutrients and water. This combination of soil and elevation creates a wine that more closely resembles the classic wines of Bordeaux than the new world reds of Napa.

 

Winemaking

Bunches of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon are harvested in October and then fermented separately in small lots. The finished wines are aged in a blend of new and 1 and 2-year old French oak for up to 14 months after which the final wine is blended and released.

 

Tasting Note

Dark purple in color with a web of sweet and savory aromas consisting of ripe strawberries, red currants, crushed gravel and cocoa. Taste and be amazed by the wine's depth, generosity and restraint. A socialite with self control, this is the kind of wine that likes to hit the dance floor but is always home before midnight. Before painting the town, pair it up with a charcuterie board of jamón, prosciutto, manchego, crispy picos, and mixed olives.