2013 Calistoga Cabernet Franc
It’s fair to say that Cabernet Franc has experienced a well-deserved renaissance in California over the last decade. Put succinctly, I think we’re doing a much better job in the vineyard and winery by allowing Cabernet Franc to be Cabernet Franc. In the Napa Valley, where the lurid temptation to plant Cabernet Sauvignon on every green acre is not only the persistent reality but also an integral part of many new business plans, the Cabernet Franc vineyards that have endured tend to be excellent. That’s certainly the case here at Chateau Montelena. Our terraced, hillside Cabernet Franc has been an integral yet unheralded component of the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon for over twenty-five years. In certain vintages, when the fruit is both exceptional and emblematic of the site and expresses the unique varietal character that distinguishes Cabernet Franc, we bottle this wine in small quantities.
Nose Effusive and floral, the 2013 Cabernet Franc teems with unceasing aromas of blackberry, dried fig, and cherry tobacco.
Palate There are understated hints of smoke and briar on the palate that complement the soft, supple tannins and balance the deep, intense notes of black plum, walnut, and, especially, anise.
Finish The finish is intense and rich, flirting with savory spices before quickly returning to stunning layers of dark chocolate and espresso.
Summertime temperatures were pleasantly warm by mid-afternoon, with just a little bit of chill each morning from the fog that sneaks in from northern Knights Valley. That marine layer gives the vines a chance to ease into the day and helps preserve the acidity that remains a hallmark of this wine, especially in the dry-farmed vineyards. Highlighted by incredible flavor development, we couldn’t have been more pleased with the power, elegance, and nuance in the fruit we harvested. The key word here is ‘balance’ – both in the vines and in the wines. This one has been worth the wait.