2006 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Franc
California: Sonoma Valley
What we say
EXCLUSIVE WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from Gundlach-Bundschu is only available in the winery’s tasting room, but was managed to infiltrate the winery and we have secured a limited number of cases for our Cabernet Franc-loving Operatives
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Mission Codename: Allow me to be perfectly Franc…
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Gundlach-Bundschu and retrieve their estate Cabernet Franc, a varietal that has quickly become a Wine Spies Operative favorite
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Gundlach-Bundschu
Wine Subject: 2006 Estate Cabernet Franc
Winemaker: Jeff Bundschu and Keith Emerson
Backgrounder: Its no secret that The Wine Spies love Gundlach Bundschu wines. This unique Sonoma Valley winery recently celebrated it’s 150th anniversary, making it one of the oldest and most well-respected wineries in the state. We love them for their people and for their wines, both of which are a delightful mixture of old-world and audacious.
As you know, Cabernet Franc is one of Agent Red’s favorite red varietals. Perhaps this is because its flavors are often rich, layered, complex and elegant. Or, perhaps he loves Cabernet Franc so much because it pairs so exceptionally with many different foods. One of the most notable things about Cabernet Franc is the fact that finding excellent examples can be very difficult. Read Red’s tasting notes and mission report below for the full intel on today’s superb wine
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfect ruby red with a darker but perfectly clear heart. The deep color is concentrated right out to the rim of the glass. When swirled, the surface of the wine appears tight and bouncy. When it settles, it leaves behind tight clusters of chubby legs that hesitate for a moment – but then streak down the glass
Smell – Rich and bright, this aromatic wine shows off heady notes of bright red cherry, blueberry, black currant, red currant and blackberry bramble. These are held aloft by more subtle notes aromas of spice, earth and dried meats
Feel – Very cool and light-weight at first. Then, quickly mouthcoating and grippy as the wine shows off a bold medium body with a bright feel that lights up the palate as flavors cascade all around the mouth
Taste – Bright and slightly tangy, this delicious wine delivers a big and pleasing rush of flavors. This wine shows bright fruit of tart raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry and young strawberry. These flavors intermingle with soft flavors of sweetwoods, earth and dried violets
Finish – This wine delivers a long and very flavorful finish. Many flavors and feelings progress across your palate, making this wine a dynamic, delicious and fun wine to imbibe. When the flavors finally do tail off, a delightful mineral-dryness is left behind – reminding you to take another generous sip
Conclusion – All of our operatives know just how much I love Cabernet franc. This love of the varietal also makes me notoriously selective when it comes to choosing a Cab Franc to feature here. Today’s GunBun Cabernet Franc represents everything that I love about the varietal; With great flavors and a bright acidity, this wine is a delight to drink on it’s own, but the acids make it the perfect companion to most meals. Gundlach Bundschu is very proud of this wine and more than one winery staffer told me that this is their favorite wine. It is easy to see why, and this is very high praise, as every GunBun wine I have had the pleasure to taste has been excellent. Pair with nearly anything or enjoy on its own.
When we first infiltrated the Gundlach-Bundschu Winery in 2008, we came to recognize the passion that is apparent in each sip of their wonderful wines. Today, Gundlach-Bundschu is a Wine Spies favorite.
Below, you will find a recap of my first mission to Gundlach-Bundschu. First, however, I would like to provide you with an update on recent happenings at the Gundlach-Bundschu Winery.
Agent Green, our newest Wine Spies agent, heads up environmental initiatives for The Wine Spies. Green is keeps our operation in balance with the environment, and is always on the lookout for wineries that are employ or promote sustainable and renewable practices.
One of the wineries that caught Agent Green’s attention of late was, you guessed it, Gundlach-Bundschu. News of the planning and installation of an innovative new floating solar array was leaked to him by one of our moles at the winery, and Green even managed to intercept the following press release:
GUNDLACH BUNDSCHU INSTALLS FLOATOVOLTAIC™ SOLAR ARRAY
California’s oldest family-owned winery becomes first in Sonoma with floating solar-energy system
SONOMA, Calif. (December 2, 2008) – Gundlach Bundschu Winery capped off its 150th anniversary this year by installing two solar arrays on its Sonoma estate, including the first Floatovoltaic™ installation in Sonoma County, which was completed today.
Designed by Thompson Technology Industries (TTI) and installed by SPG Solar, Inc. of Novato, Calif., the 30-kilowatt Floatovoltaic system provides 100 percent of the power used by the winery’s water reclamation system. (A series of ponds and man-made wetlands filters all the winery waste water, ultimately recycling 70 percent for use in the vineyard.) This array consists of 162 Sharp solar panels on pontoons that float on one of the ponds, generating enough power to fully power the pumps, monitors and other electrical needs of the entire water reclamation system. Energy costs for water reclamation previously ran around $650 per month, but are now expected to range between $0 and $200 a year.
The second solar array at Gundlach Bundschu, which went live on November 20, 2008, is an 80-kilowatt ground-mounted system that provides 60 percent of the winery’s energy needs. Comprised of 450 Kyocera panels, it is expected to save the winery $15,000 annually. Evidence of its commitment to sustainability, Gundlach Bundschu pulled out 1.3 acres of five-year-old Dijon 667 pinot noir vines in July – an annual equivalent to $70,000 dollars’ worth of bottled Gundlach Bundschu wines – to install the system.
Sixth-generation vintner and Gundlach Bundschu President Jeff Bundschu is happy with this progress and will continue to actively look at every aspect of his business to promote conservation and eco-system health while producing the highest-quality wines.
“In addition to our existing practices in the vineyard and winery, including eliminating pesticides, using biodiesel, recycling water, reducing packaging and using recycled materials, the solar program is another important step in my family’s goal to become carbon neutral,” Bundschu said.
The winery plans to eventually receive 100 percent of its energy needs from solar, according to Bundschu.
Celebrating its Sesquicentennial in 2008, Gundlach Bundschu is the oldest family-owned winery in California, currently run by the sixth generation of the Bundschu family. The 320-acre estate vineyard was christened Rhinefarm in 1858 by Jacob Gundlach, who started the winery with son-in-law Charles Bundschu. This remarkable site at the base of the Mayacamas Mountain Range is located literally at the crossroads of the Sonoma Valley, Carneros and Napa Valley appellations. Gundlach Bundschu is open for tasting from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.
Sixth-generation vintner and president Jeff Bundschu is continually, actively looking at every aspect of his business to promote conservation and eco-system health while producing the highest quality wines. “In addition to our existing practices in the vineyard and winery — eliminating pesticides, using biodiesel, recycling water, reducing packaging and using recycled materials — the solar program is another important step in our family’s goal to eventually become carbon neutral.”
Agent Green says, “Jeff Bundschu, you are my hero!”
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Gundlach-Bundschu winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Deep and intense with a rich texture showcasing bright flavors and a long finish.
About This Wine:
Deep color and intense aromas of spice and red currant. Juicy blueberry flavors with a touch of meatiness are framed by ripe, broad tannins that give the wine a rich texture and tobacco notes, and carry bright black cherry and boysenberry flavors through a long finish. Delicious upon release, the wine will continue to improve for three to seven years from vintage.
Vineyard Notes: This 4.6 acre block of Cabernet Franc was planted in 1999 on a secluded hillside at 100 feet elevation. With its southwestern exposure, considerable slope and rocky soils, this site is proving to be outstanding for Cabernet Franc.
Winemaker Notes: The 2006 growing season got off to a late, wet start on Rhinefarm, with budbreak beginning at the end of March and generous rainfall late into the spring. High soil moisture going into the growth period allowed the vines to develop large canopies that required vigilant taming to maintain ideal fruit-to-canopy ratios. A record-breaking heat wave in July helped put an end to vegetative growth and spurred the vines onto the business of ripening fruit. The harvest period was nearly perfect, and so in the end the fruit attained excellent phenolic maturity as well as nicely developed varietal characters.
About The Winery:
For 150 years we Bundschus have hiked, biked, fished, flown, sailed, surfed and otherwise explored the outdoors of Northern California and far beyond.
While we delight in adventure, two important things we’ve learned from our travels are, first, always carry a map, and second, there is nothing better than coming home. Even if you never set foot in Sonoma or get to smell the Watusi up close, we invite you to visit us anytime by simply pulling a cork.
About The Winemaker:
Jeff is no stranger to the lure of the vine-as a sixth generation California vintner, wine has been in his family since 1858. Bundschu was raised on the family estate in Sonoma and was working in the vineyards by the time he was 12 years old.
Like many of his family members before him, Bundschu is striving to redefine the estate vision to meet the industry challenges of the times. With superb vineyards and a talented team of employees, he is excited about the future of the estate. “Each generation of my family that has stood on this dirt felt compelled to looking at the vines and wines with a fresh eye. Our winery’s evolution is destined-families evolve. Land evolves. Plants evolve. Palates evolve.”
Equally important to Bundschu is the preservation of the open-minded and spirited culture with which the winery has long been associated. “Our life here at Gundlach Bundschu, with its wine and good people, has always been about laughter, hard work, enjoying the inspiration that comes from being in such a beautiful place, and sharing what we have with our friends and neighbors.”
When Keith Emerson joined Gundlach Bundschu Winery as winemaker in December 2008, it was a sort of homecoming. A 1999 graduate of University of California at Davis, he served as Gundlach Bundschu associate winemaker from 2000 to 2004. He returns to the estate with a honed vision and proven experience to match his passion for the site.
After earning his degree, Keith spent a year at Cakebread Cellars before joining Gundlach Bundschu. In 2004, he worked a harvest at Palliser Estate in Martinborough, New Zealand, before returning to Northern California and becoming Director of Winemaking for Vineyard 29 in St. Helena, CA.
At Vineyard 29, Keith works closely with consultant Philippe Melka on the estate and Aida wines and directs all aspects of winemaking for the CRU Napa Valley label. He also oversees the program for custom-crush clientele, including Andy Erickson and Celia Masyczek, and works with several respected growers, including David Abreu, Mike Wolf, Jim Barbour, Piña Vineyard Management and Silverado Farming Company, among others.
Keith also consults for Robert Craig and other esteemed wineries, and produces his own label of artisan cabernet sauvignon, Emerson Brown.
It is Keith’s experience with these diverse vineyards that has inspired his return to Gundlach Bundschu. “My goal as a winemaker is to tell the story of each vineyard site,” Emerson said. “I know the Gundlach Bundschu estate, and I believe strongly in its potential to produce stellar wines. I am extremely motivated to work with Jeff and the team to take these wines to the highest quality level.”
Wine Type: Medium Red Wine
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Harvest Date: October 2006
Aging: 15 months in 100% French oak, 35% new
Bottling Date: May 2008