2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Halo
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Wine Spies favorite, St. Supery, secure a exceptional Cabernet Franc for our deserving operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: St. Supery Vineyards and Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Cabernet Franc Napa Valley
Winemaker: Michael Beaulac
Winery Backgrounder: We love St. Supery Winery, and while we would love to show their wines more frequently, we are made happy by the fact that the wines they do share with our Operatives are universally fantastic. Today, Agent Red returns to St. Supery and returns with their Winery Exclusive Cabernet Franc. To Red, this is a double score, as his love for the winery is matched only by his love for this delicious varietal.
Varietal Backgrounder: 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. This explains why we have not shown a Cab Franc here in some time. Agent Red recently scoured the Napa Valley to bring you today’s exceptional selection from our old friends at St. Supery. Red Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark and concentrated, with hues of darkest garnet at the core and ruby at its edge. When swirled, the wine snaps back into place, settling quickly, and leaving behind tight columns of skinny legs that meander down the glass.
Smell – Bold intensity with balanced aromatics of blueberry, blackberry and plum leading the charge. These are accompanied, soon after, by bramble, dusky smoked black cherry, chocolate and softest oak.
Feel – Smooth and light at very first, then a medium body quickly develops on the mid-palate, where a spicy minerality makes a more gradual appearance. This dynamic effect is unique and very pleasing.
Taste – Tart dark cherry is followed by blackberry, smoky blueberry, young strawberry, raspberry and earthy bright plum, subtle cassis and sweetwoods.
Finish – Very long. Clean and fresh at first, then the wine develops a spicy minerality that spreads throughout the palate as the flavors slowly tail off from sweet to tart to dusky.
Conclusion – This is a fantastic example of Cabernet Franc and we are honored to be featuring it today. This wine delivers on the promise that, when done right, Cabernet Franc can be the perfect varietal. This wine is expressive, dynamic, fun to drink and very easy to pair with. Lush and balanced, this wine delivers great flavors, a great and evolving mouthfeel, and balanced acidity. This particular Franc lacks the often criticized green pepper sometimes present in the wine. There is no such aromatic or flavor here, only a brilliant mix of great fruit. Pair with almost anything, but I would recommend this wine with a pork shank or a grilled steak.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Michael Scholz
WINE EDUCATION: Roseworthy College, Australia
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker at Iron Horse, St.Supery from 1996-2001, Wattle Creek then returned to St. Supery in 2009
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Full, vibrant expression of fruit, reflective of distinct terroir
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “G’day and cheers!”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Michael. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Cabernet Franc today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
WINEMAKER: Happy to have our Cabernet Franc featured on Wine Spies!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WINEMAKER: I grew up on a family estate vineyard in the Barossa Valley in Australia, near Adelaide. After five generations of physicians, my brother and I are the first Scholz’ to become winemakers.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
WINEMAKER: People who love wine, love food and good times.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
WINEMAKER: This is a small lot of wine we make for St. Supery wine club members, so it’s not distributed in retail or restaurants. St. Supery is a family-owned estate vineyard with over 500 acres planted in Bordeaux grape varieties in Napa Valley. Cabernet Franc makes a very elegant wine, which we often blend into Cabernet Sauvignon and our Elu Meritage wine, and some of the fruit we grow is really nice, so we like to bottle a small amount as a single varietal feature.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
WINEMAKER: Grilled lamb always makes me want a glass of Cab Franc…
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valleyso special?
WINEMAKER: Napa Valley is a terrific region for growing all Bordeaux varieties…warm days and cool nights, long, dry growing season. On our Dollarhide estate, Cab Franc grows on the hillsides at an elevation of nearly 1,000 ft., so we get concentration of flavors and colors…the fruit gets a lot of hang-time, so the tannins and flavors are able to mature.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
WINEMAKER: Preparing 2008 red wines for bottling. Monitoring progress on the 2009 vintage crop with our vineyard team…Also, bolstering our red wine production facility so that we can give special care to smaller and smaller parcels of fruit while making wines this harvest.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
WINEMAKER: They are drinkable now, yet have the capacity to age nicely for several years. I suggest approaching it eagerly, with a corkscrew, since if you like it and think it will taste good in two years also, you can buy another bottle!
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
WINEMAKER: You’re welcome to come visit St. Supery Winery in Napa Valley, we’d love to show you our vineyards and pour you our wines in person.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of St. Supery Vineyards and Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
You can taste the plummy and dried-berry intensity of the fully ripe fruit in this wine. The medium-full body is enlivened by the right amount of tannin and acidity. Anise aroma from the fruit and cedar from French cooperage lend a dash of spice. Semi-sweet cocoa adds another point of interest, with woodsmoke in the warm aftertaste. This is a delicious example of an uncommon and unique varietal wine.
About The Winery:
Two vineyards – one in Rutherford at the heart of Napa Valley’s Cabernet Sauvignon country, the other in a serene corner of the Napa Valley – gave rise to the divine wines of St. Supéry, most notably, award-winning Cabernet Sauvignons and Sauvignon Blanc.
Every day, wine aficionados from around the world visit our winery estate in Rutherford, one of Napa Valley’s best-known appellations. A tour of our winemaking facility gives visitors a look at the state of modern winemaking, while a visit to the historic landmark 1880 Victorian Atkinson House (now a living museum) gives them a sense of the Valley’s past. Yet perhaps the biggest attraction is the uniquely informative and engaging St. Supéry Winery and Gallery
About The Vineyards:
St. Supéry first invested in vineyards in 1982 with the acquisition of Dollarhide, a 1,500-acre property in northeast Napa Valley. The winery has continued to invest in vineyards since that time, knowing that only through close management of the grapes in the vineyards can we ensure the highest quality wines in the bottle. In total, St. Supéry has over 500 planted acres in Napa Valley. It is in these vineyards, with very diverse terrains, that St. Supéry wines get their start.
Dollarhide – Dollarhide is St. Supéry’s largest vineyard estate with over 1,500 acres of rolling hills, oak-covered knolls and seven lakes in a private mountain valley in northeast Napa Valley. About one third of the acreage is planted to winegrapes.
Rutherford Estate – St. Supéry’s estate vineyard surrounding the winery in the celebrated wine growing region of Rutherford in the Napa Valley on Hwy 29 is also the winery site. Thirty-five acres are planted with red Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The climate and soils of Rutherford are ideal for these grape varieties, which often are blended with Dollarhide fruit to create St. Supéry’s refined and elegant Élu and Virtú wines.
Appellation: Napa Valley