2015 Cabernet Franc Alegría Vineyards
Inviting aromas of vanilla, cedar, and dusty cherry mingle with traces of forest floor and autumn spices. A juicy core of black cherry, black currant, and plum is encased in rich vanillin oak. Threads of cedar, dried strawberry, orange zest, and tobacco weave through the palate, adding depth to the wine. The structure appears near the broad finish, surrounding the flavors with bright acidity, fine-grained oak, and supple tannins as the wine lingers.
When we planted our Cabernet Franc vines in 1991, few wineries in California were bottling a varietal Cabernet Franc. Its popularity increased as people discovered that it is more aromatic, less tannic, and more versatile at the dinner table than its child, Cabernet Sauvignon. Ours is co-fermented with complementary varieties to add extra dimension and complexity. In our cool Russian River Valley microclimate, the grapes take longer to ripen, and they ripen at a lower sugar level, so the alcohol is usually less than 13%.
In 2015, the combination of a drier than normal winter, a warm summer, and a light crop gave us another early harvest. We harvested our Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat along with the Cabernet Franc. We co-fermented the varieties, after a three-day cold soak to allow enzymes to extract color, flavor, and aroma. D-254 yeast enhanced dark fruit flavors and mouthfeel. After fermentation, we pressed the wine to barrels for 18 months’ barrel aging. After bottling, we aged the wine an additional seven months before release to allow it to round out.