Tag Archive | "cabernet franc"

2009 Va Piano Cab Franc – Review

By Duane Pemberton
& Sarah Bagdon

Winery website: http://www.vapianovineyards.com

Unfortunately, not too many producers make a Cabernet Franc – it’s either because they don’t have access to quality fruit or perhaps worry  that not enough folks would buy it. Thankfully, Justin Wylie of Va Piano Vineyards has neither of those concerns as he has his own estate fruit and has no problems selling all he makes of this wonderful wine only to the winery’s wine club.

Technical Data:

  • Varietal Composition: 80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot
  • Vineyard Sources: Va Piano Vineyards Block 8 Cab Franc, Va Piano Vineyards Block 3 Merlot
  • Appellation: Walla Walla Valley
  • Oak Composition: 40% New French / 60% Neutral French
  • Barrel Aging: 21 months
  • Chemistry: Alcohol 14.4%
  • pH 3.66
  • TA .59g/100ml
  • Case Production: 150 cases
  • Price:  $48

Nose: Black cherry, hazelnut, cigar wrapper, dark chocolate, cola and tar bubble.

Taste: Raisin fruit roll-up, mocha, pencil lead, match stick and dried blueberries. Firm tannins with a good acidity lead into an inviting finish that begs you for more. This is a new-world-style Cab Franc in that it doesn’t have the “veggie” action we tend to see from the old world. Lots of reach-around on this bottle – should age well for another 10 years or more.

W.E.P. Rating: 95%

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Reviews, Washington WinesComments (0)

A pair of 2005 Willis Hall Reds

Like most small wineries, Willis Hall prides itself on staying as close to the “purity of the fruit” as possible and sources from the best vineyard sites it can get its hands on. Winemaker, John Bell, is extremely passionate about his craft and is always eager to share the wines he produces.

Willis Hall has sort of carved out a small cult-like following and is one of the wineries that are starting to put Snohomish County on the map (well, that and some help from the scores  Quilceda Creek wines have garnered).

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting John a few times now over the past several months and am always impressed on how personable he is and the gleam in his eye whenever you get him started talking about wine – it’s great to see his passion.

2005 Cabernet Franc: Charbonneau Farms –  W.E.P. Rating: 100%

  • Alcohol by Volume – 13.2%
  • Blend – 90% Cabernet Franc; 10% Merlot
  • Vineyards – Charbonneau Farms
  • Barrels – 100% French Oak (50% New; 50% One Cycle Used)
  • Ageing – 22 Months
  • Price: $32

Nose: Cherries, raspberries, black cherries. The smell reminds me of a warm, safe place where as a child I’d Hide (Guns n’ Roses rocks!) – seriously, this wine has comfort-101 all over the nose. It’s pleasant, soft and full of fruit that you’d love to pound by the fistfull.

Taste: The sheer balance of tannin structure and dark fruits of this wine are “off the chain” – this is a Cab Franc that is truley world-class and shows good evidence as to why Washington State kicks ass with this grape. It has the classic darker berry fruits on the front-end with an incredible mid-palate transition that layers on a sort of caramel-pie-crust-like layer and the finish lasts for weeks.

2005 Dolcetto – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

  • Alcohol by Volume – 13.7%
  • Blend – 91% Dolcetto; 9% Sangiovese
  • Vineyards – Morrison Lane; Snipes Canyon Ranch
  • Barrels – 100% French Oak (40% One Cycle Used; 60% Neutral)
  • Ageing – 22 Months
  • Price: $28

Nose: Shampoo, black cherries, rhubarb, sour cherries, white pepper, bubble gum and beef jerky.

Taste: Good amount of an ocean-spray tartness that goes on in the fruit attack of this wine – flavors of cherries, raspberries and lognberry. A solid mid-palate transition that brings on some nice layers of cocoa, white pepper and a hint of medicine cabinet. Good finish that lingers on nicely for hours.

On the web: www.willishall.com

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Dolcetto, Reviews, Washington WinesComments (1)

Review: Hard Row to How – Round-up

When Don and Judy Phelps started this winery a few years ago they drew inspiration from the old brothel that once “served” the local mining community of the greater Lake Chelan area. For those not familiar with the landscape of this beautiful region in Washington State, it is indeed a bit different than Columbia Valley. Lake Chelen itself is one of the deepest lakes in the world and is has plenty of high hills in its general area – cooler climate grapes do very well in this region and Judy has the winemaking prowess to know what works there and what doesn’t.

fall_09_hard_row_roundup_s

2008 Pinot Noir Rose’ – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

Cases Produced
100
Appellation
Columbia Valley – Lake Chelan
Vineyard
Cortelli
Harvest Date
October 25 , 2008
Brix at Harvest
24˚
Blend
n/a
Barrel Regime
none
Final Analysis
Alcohol 13.8% • TA 0.7 g/100ml
pH 3.4 • R.S 1.1 %
Release Date
June 2009
Retail Price
$18.00
Wine maker
Judy Phelps
Awards
Rated “Excellent” by Wine Press NW
Silver Medal – Washington Wine Competition
  • Cases Produced: 100
  • Appellation: Columbia Valley – Lake Chelan
  • Vineyard: Cortelli
  • Harvest Date: October 25 , 2008
  • Brix at Harvest: 24˚
  • Blend: n/a
  • Barrel Regime: none
  • Alcohol 13.8% • TA 0.7 g/100ml
  • pH 3.4 • R.S 1.1 %
  • Release Date: June 2009
  • Retail Price: $15.00

Nose: Cherries, white pepper, strawberries, ripe kiwi and a touch of fabreeze

Taste: Refreshing fruit attack on the front palate with a solid transition into the mid-region that starts layering those good cherry and strawberry components. I get a nice white pepper action on the finish which I feel compliments the strawberry flavor rather nicely.

I went 90% on this wine because at the $15 mark there are whites from other regions like Spain and Argentina which offer a bit more complexity at the same price-point.

2008 Shameless Hussy Roussanne – W.E.P. Rating: 85%

Technical Data

  • Cases Produced75
  • AppellationColumbia Valley
  • VineyardWhite Heron- Mariposa
  • Harvest DateSeptember 25 , 2008
  • Brix at Harvest24˚
  • Blendn/a
  • Barrel Regimenone
  • Final Analysis Alcohol 13.8%
  • TA  0.8 g/100ml
  • pH 3.5  • R.S 0.7%
  • Release DateJune 2009
  • Price: $15

Nose: Apricots, sea water, coral, peach skin and pears.

Taste:A spritzy tongue-bath of apricots, peaches, pears and a hint of carmel. I get an rather interesting vanilla-like mid-palate transition that hits me pretty good. Decent finish on this wine – a bit too hot for me, however. Would be an easy pick for shellfish, sea-bass or just to enjoy on the patio with the sun out.

2006 Cabernet Franc – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Cases Produced: 180
  • Appellation: Wahluke Slope
  • Vineyard: Riverbend
  • Harvest Date: October 20, 2006
  • Brix at Harvest: 24.8˚
  • Blend: 100% Cabernet Franc
  • Barrel Regime: 50% American 50% French : 30% new
  • Alcohol 14.1%
  • TA 0.53 g/100ml
  • pH 3.8
  • Release Date: September 2008
  • Price: $25

Nose: Candied rose petals, cherries, vanilla, creme brulle.

Taste: Good balance of black licorice, roses, carmel and black cherries on the intitial taste. I like the mid palate transition which gives way to notes of leather, dark chocolate, tobacco and tar. A nice finish that lingers on for hours and makes you want more.

2006 Syrah – W.E.P. Rating: 75%

Technical Data:

  • Cases Produced: 400
  • Appellation: Wahluke Slope
  • Vineyard: Riverbend
  • Harvest Date: October 2, 2006
  • Brix at Harvest: 24.5˚
  • Blend: 100% Syrah
  • Barrel Regime: 25% new French, 25% new American; 50% Neutral
  • Final Analysis: Alcohol 13.5% • TA 0.55 g/100ml
  • pH 3.6
  • Release Date: January 2009
  • Retail Price: $28.00
Nose: Inky plums with cocoa, raisins, black cherries and a bit of the typical syrah gaminess. leather and some pomegranate.

Taste:
Good plum action with anise, chocolate, nice acidity across the mid palate but gets a bit disjointed for me on the back-end. Not a bad effort, but it’s not my fav.

2006 Zinfandel – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:
  • Cases Produced: 237
  • Appellation: Wahluke Slope
  • Vineyard: Pheasant
  • Harvest Date: October 24, 2006
  • Brix at Harvest: 25.8˚
  • Blend: 75% Zinfandel; 25% Merlot
  • Barrel Regime: 60% Neutral, 40% new oak
  • Alcohol 15.5% •
  • TA 0.65 g/100ml
  • pH 3.9 •
  • RS= .6 g/100ml
  • Release Date: September 2008
  • Price: $35
Nose: Shoe polish, leather, black tar, blackberries, cherries and raspberries.
Taste: Black pepper covered charred bell peppers with raspberry jam, blackberries, tar bubble and a nice hint of jalepeno-raspberry and blueberry finish on the end. Superb mouthfeel, good balance of the fruit, acid and alcohol make this a very food-friendly wine that really does kick ass.
This is a great Zinfandel, no doubt, and would easily stand up to a lot I’ve had from California, however, at $35 dollars it starts to out-price itself a bit – in my opinion – because in that price-range it starts to go with the better Zins from the likes of Ridge etc and could get lost int he shuffle.
Winery website: www.hardrow.com

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Reviews, Rosé, Syrah, Washington Wines, ZinfandelComments (0)

Nefarious 07 Viognier & 06 Cab Franc

With its first, estate vineyard planted in 1998, Nefarious Cellars Winery – based in Chelan WA – is run by husband/wife team of Dean and Heather Neff. He makes the reds and she makes the whites – seems like a cool combination. We ran by their booth at the Taste WA event a couple of months ago and I’ve been intrigued by their wines since.

2007 Viognier: W.E.P. Scale Rating: %100

Technical information:
Ph: 3.25
TA: .62g/100mL
Alcohol: 13.0%
Residual Sugar .6 g/100mL
Stainless steel fermentation.
Vineyard: Defiance
This is the first wine to be released from our estate fruit located on the winery property in Lake Chelan.
Production: 198 cases
Official Release Date: April 18, 2008
Winemaker: Heather Neff
Price: $19

Nose: Pears, very floral, some apple components and orange peel going on which I appreciate.

Taste; Good spiciness coupled with bosch pears, apples and hints of green apple skin. Solid fruit across the entire palate with a nice, lingering finish. Excellent balance of acidity and fruit which I know will appeal to a lot of people.

2007 Viogner Summary:
I really liked this wine – a lot – as a huge fan of Viognier, I felt Heather really nailed this one. It screams summertime foods, spicy thai food or it’s just great to drink on its own. At $19 it’s a bit higher than competing bottles from the likes of Maryhill and other makers of fine Washington Viognier, however, does a great job of competing. If you’re new to Viogner and want to taste a great one, then give this a go.

2006 Cabernet Franc: W.E.P. Scale Rating: 90%

Technical information:
PH: 3.68
TA: .60 g/100mL
Alcohol: 14.0%
This wine spent 18 months in all French oak barrels. 33% is new and the remainder once-filled.
Vineyard: Weinbau Vineyard, Wahluke Slope AVA
Production: 70 cases
Official Release Date: June 1, 2007
Winemaker: Dean Neff
Price: $28

Nose:
Creamed cherries and raspberries on the nose. Some big-league chew bubble gum as well. White pepper.

Taste: huge dark cherry component mixed with chocolate, vanilla and pepper. The finish lingers on quite nicely – this would be a great wine with prime rib or peppered steaks.

2006 Cabernet Franc Summary:
Most of you know I’m a huge fan of quality-to-price-ratio – having said that, there are definitely some things to appreciate about this wine – it has good complexity, finishes well and is very food-friendly. My only dilemma is its price – at $28, there are other wines in that price category which I favor a bit more. If you can find this wine at retail for well under $25, I’d easily recommend it is a good bottle and should be tried by folks. If Nefarious can get the price down a bit, we’d have an easy contender.

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Reviews, Viognier, Washington WinesComments (0)

O.S. Winery – 2003 Cabernet Franc – Champoux Vineyard

When I first tasted O.S. wines a number of years ago, I thought I had maybe found the holy-grail of Seattle-based wineries as it seemed at the time to offer some of the better wine-values going. Here you have a winery whose winemaker, Bill Owen, was schooled by Chris Camarda and has found a way to make his own mark in O.S. wines which continue to garner critical acclaim among critics and daily wine drinkers.

Bill and co-owner, Rob Sullivan, are sticklers on sourcing the top fruit from the state of Washington and in this 2003 effort of Cabernet Franc were able to snatch up some grapes from industry-leading Champoux Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills area.

I bought this bottle a few years ago and it’s been laying down since that time – We had about 1/2 the bottle the first day and I tasted it for the next day or two afterwards to see if it changed much at all and here are my thoughts:

Smells like: dark plums mixed with black cherry and dirt – grilled asparagus tips, a touch of baseball mitt and some elderberry.

Tastes like: deep black cherry on the front palate with the baseball mitt opening on the mid-palate and a hint of dr. pepper – the finish gets a bit disjointed and doesn’t linger as long as I’d like.

Summary: For $35, I’d have to pass on this wine as there are others in its price-range I enjoy a lot more.

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Reviews, Washington WinesComments (2)