In its original home of Bordeaux, France, Cabernet Franc is a key component of blends associated with St. Emilion and Pomerol. Its singular success in the New World is due to our warmer climate patterns and the ability to achieve full ripeness, minimizing this varietal’s tendency toward herbaceous and weedy flavors. Our 100% Cabernet Franc utilizes fruit from Adelaida’s 25 year old Viking Estate, a particularly steep, south (sun) facing site, devoted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon. At only 1 ½ acres, this devigorating, low yielding chalk-rock terroir makes for a truly limited production (some of the fruit also contributing to other blends). Harvested in the later weeks of September the grapes were hand sorted, de-stemmed, fermented in small vats with indigenous yeast and kept for 30 additional days on the skins to maximize flavor compounds. Based on primarily “free run” the wine was moved to a combination of new and 2 – 3 year old medium toast French oak barrels for 20 months.
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.