Cabernet Franc Signature 2014
Viking Estate Vineyard
90 - Connoisseurs Guide
Violet and Iris flower aromatics make for a 1st impression followed by deeply penetrating flavors of blueberries, black currants, toast, cedar wood, Christmas spices, and graphite minerality. Light on its feet yet full and generous, the wine’s silky texture leads to an opulent sustaining finish of black fruited incense. Best decanted in the near term, drink through 2024.
90 points, Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
Rife with blackberries, briary spice and creamy oak and not at all shy about trumpeting its considerable ripeness, this big-bodied effort from Adelaida fully evokes the heady richness that is its maker's signature stamp. It is surprisingly polished for a wine of its size, and, while far from delicate, it is a Cabernet Franc whose ample frame is so well-filled in fruit that its youthful tannins are never a problem. It is so rich that it can be enjoyed in as little as three or four years, but its best will not be reached until twice as many have passed.
Aromas of violets, Iris flowers, crushed blueberries, grilled toast, Belgian chocolate, cinnamon stick. Flavors of blueberries, black currant liqueur, chocolate truffles, ground nutmeg.
Herb Crusted Prime Rib au jus, Grilled Venison loin with carmelized onions and mushrooms, pan seared lamb chops with rosemary reduction.
The 16.5 acre Viking Vineyard is a true mountain site, located in the coastal influenced Paso Robles Adelaida District, 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Sitting on an extremely steep, south facing shelf of limestone, the site presents a challenging environment for growing grapes. Planted to three varieties, it is the focus of our Bordeaux program, emphasizing cabernet sauvignon (13 acres), and cabernet franc (1.5 acres) plus a unique small block of northern Rhône sourced Syrah (2 acres). The original vines date back to 1991 and were augmented with an additional 5 acres of cabernet sauvignon in 2000. Vine spacing is the tightest of all seven Adelaida Vineyards; 4 feet between vines and 8 feet between rows, 1361 vines/acre. Cabernet yields average 2 – 2.5 tons/acre, while the Syrah struggles to reach 1 – 1.5 tons/acre. A further 9 acres of Bordeaux varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon (6 acres), Cabernet Franc (1 acre), Petit Verdot (1 acre), and Malbec (1 acre), were installed on a separate site in 2007, coming online in 2012. Grafted onto lime tolerant rootstock, the vines are drip irrigated and trained to a vertical shoot positioning system.
The 2014 vintage, was a classic vintage for the region and was characterized by its overall consistency. After a warm and dry winter that marked a third consecutive year of drought, the vines woke a month early from dormancy with buds pushing out in mid-February. The 3rd year of low rainfall added a measure of stress to the vines contributing to low yields and enhanced skin phenolics. All to the good for producing wines of depth and density.
Summer followed with a few heat spells that led us to begin harvest on August 12, a full month earlier than the historical average, and finished late September—when we typically are still bringing in Pinot Noir.
As a whole, the wines from the 2014 vintage are loaded with fruit and are very generous, approachable, and drinking well now. They have good weight, great length, and show the potential of our estate vineyards. The 2014 vintage wines are in stark contrast to the 2013 wines, which were very tight in their infancy and are only now, three years later, beginning to show their depth.
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