On September 14th and 15th, we join our fellow Napa Valley Vintners in Opening up the Cellar to showcase something special from our wine library. While deciding which variety to celebrate is very difficult because we love them all, we ultimately chose our 2015 Cabernet Franc as it marks a very special anniversary: 25 vintages of small lot Cabernet Franc under the McKenzie-Mueller label!
So here's a very brief story about our Cabernet Franc... ***
Our first Cabernet Franc vines went into the ground at our Oak Knoll AVA vineyard in the late 1970s.
These vines would be some of the first plantings for McKenzie-Mueller wines--our first vintage being 1990.
30+ years later, we are still tending some of those same vines though it is a labor of love with virus a constant struggle and the trellising considered anything but normal by today's standards.
While we have begun interplanting to help make up for the diminishing yields, we hope to continue tending to these old vines for many more years.
Having old vines and young vines in the same block can be extra effort with different pruning & harvesting dates...but there is just something about the quality of the fruit that keeps us hooked and willing to push off a total replant of the block.
These days our single variety Cabernet Franc includes fruit from these old vines. And yes, Bob is still at the helm teaching us how to properly care for the vines and produce an excellent Cabernet Franc.
So what was it that led him to be so inspired by the 'blending variety' Cabernet Franc?
While making wine at Mondavi back in 70's--early in his career there--Bob came into contact with Cabernet Franc from the Detert Vineyard, which he describes as being back near the Carmelite Monastery in Oakville. It was his experience with this fruit that illuminated the Cabernet Franc light bulb. He thought the variety could be less heavy and tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon while also having interesting aromatics such as cherry and mushrooms (similar to truffles). And...for wines that are meant to pair with foods (generally our winemaking style), we feel Cabernet Franc excels with both fruit and earthy qualities.
After all these years in the Napa Valley making Cabernet Franc, it still remains a favorite to make AND drink with dinner. ***
From our family to yours, Cheers & Happy Sipping