The June 2012 Estate Club Shipment – A Cab Franc Intensive

May 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

     Our June shipment is entirely Cab Franc focused, because we love our Cabernet Francs, and it’s been too long since we’ve offered some up to you!  Below is a description of Nate’s Picks for the June 2012 shipment.


Sunset Hills Vineyard 2011 Rosé – This is our third vintage of rosé winemaking, and I sincerely believe that with each consecutive vintage we’re moving in a direction of better texture and complexity.  As in the past, we utilized both the soignée and skin contact[i] production methods for making this wine, fermented all the lots of rosé separately (in this case, four distinct rosés) and then finally blended them all together about two months before bottling. 

            In keeping with this shipment’s theme, the base of the blend here comes from Cabernet Franc.  Three separate vineyards were used for the Cab Franc portion of this wine (85%), some of which were new to us as rosé producers, and so were even more interesting to work with.  Each year we hone in a bit more on which blocks are superior for our rosé, and of course also there is the vintage to consider.  A final portion (15%) came from Merlot, which we fermented in neutral red oak barrels in hopes of utilizing a sur lee program to add texture and smoothness to the wine.  This is the first time we have worked Merlot into our rosé program, and I was very happy with the results.

            The final wine shows some distinct differences from our previous two vintages: more delicate in aromatics, and thicker, rounder, more tactile mouthfeel, and a light hand with the residual sugar.  This wine was released in early Spring and thus far has been one of our best selling releases from the 2011 vintage.


Sunset Hills Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Franc – Two-thousand ten was such a great year for Cabernet Franc, we’ll be bottling three separate wines made from this one grape[ii], and this is the first.  A hot, dry vintage allowed our vineyards to produce lush, open, super-ripe reds of a style we do not have the pleasure of making every year, and we’re just now getting them into bottle and into your hands.

            The 2010 Cabernet Franc is a blend of three separate Cab Franc vineyards, with a touch of Merlot.  All the wines were made in our standard style: hand-sorted fruit, warm fermentations, 16 months of barrel ageing in primarily neutral oak, after which the wine is blended and bottled. 

            This Cabernet Franc is very ripe and open, with more of a broad lushness than its 2009 counterpart, more mid-palate spice and lingering bright tannins.  While this wine is pouring well now, it won’t be released in the tasting room for another few months, and so we offer this one as a bit of a sneak peak. 

[i] Two different methods of producing pink wines.  Saigneé (French for “bleeding”) involves removing 10-20% of the juice off a tank of red grapes prior to fermentation.  Skin contact involves crushing red grapes and allowing the skin to release pigmentation into the juice for about a day, after which the grapes are pressed and treated like a white wine.  Both methods have their distinct benefits.

[ii] From Cabernet Franc, this year we’ll be bottling (a) the 2010 Cabernet Franc, (b) the 2010 Reserve Cabernet Franc, and (c) the Estate Club Select 2010 “Block 29” Cabernet Franc.  Two out of three of these will be Estate Club only.

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