What We Say 2007 'Lone Tree' Cabernet Franc
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Mission Codename: Citizen ‘Franc’
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a fantastic Cabernet Franc from our new friends at Hearst Ranch Winery and winemaker Adam LaZarre
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Hearst Ranch Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 ‘Lone Tree’ Cabernet Franc
Winemaker: Adam LaZarre
Paso Robles, in California’s Southern Central Coast region (San Luis Obisbo County) is one of California’s oldest and fastest-evolving wine growing regions. The first vines were planted in the late 1700s by the Spanish missionaries. Paso’s unique climate, perhaps influences its vine more than any other area in California. The hot, dry weather that is only minimally effected by coastal fog and wine results in grapes that are more concentrated in flavor and intensity. This climate makes Paso uniquely suited to grow the big red varietals.
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.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dense and dark garnet with dark ruby streaks that barely shine through its intense core and along the edges. When swirled, tightly spaced fat legs hang just above the meniscus ring of the wine. (Note that there is some sediment in this wine, but it doesn’t impact the clarity).
Smell – Rich and well developed with aromas of dark fruit include blackberry, red current and notes of blueberry also. Earthy undertones meld with hints of cocoa, soft herbs and graphite shavings adds complexity.
Feel – Plush and round with a touch of spice that hits on the tip of the tongue with your first sip. Once open, this full-bodied dry wine is very smooth and has well structured and almost chewy tannins that are framed with medium-soft acidity.
Taste – Fruit forward and rich with flavors of black cherry, blueberry, blackberry and red currant supported by meaty and savory notes of leather and soft earthy herbs. Hints of chocolate cocoa and kernel linger just underneath the fruit.
Finish – Clean and medium long in length with the fruit gently fading leaving behind lingering earthy and meaty flavors.
Conclusion – The 2007 Hearst Ranch Winery ‘Lone Tree’ Cabernet Franc is a delicious and very approachable fruit forward Cabernet Franc. Rich and plush on the nose and palate with a nearly chewy mouth-feel and clean finish. Pair this wine with grilled game meat or a pork Porterhouse as recommended by the winery. Enjoy this wine now and for the next several years.
Today’s interview was taken from a previous encounter with winemaker Adam LaZarre. His current whereabouts is listed as unknown.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Adam LaZarre
WINE EDUCATION: Fresno State University Bachelor of Science Enology
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker/Director of Operations at Villa San-Juliette Winery. Consulting Winemaker for Hearst Ranch Winery. Former VP of Winemaking at Hahn Estates, several Central Coast wineries over the past two decades
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: People drink wine in good times and in bad, therefore, always make your wine taste expensive
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing…"
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: LaZarre 2003 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir, November, 2004
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Adam. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
ADAM LAZARRE: Dude. Always a pleasure to chat with a real secret agent!
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
ADAM: Yup. Well, several. I can think of a number of wines that changed my paradigm about wine at various times throughout my life. 1970 Lynch-Bages my dad had in the cellar, 1977 Graham’s Vintage Port, 1986 J. Phelps Insignia, 1985 Beringer Knights Valley Cab, and a particular late 80’s Chardonnay from Western Australia…the name escapes me.
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
ADAM: The late Don Blackburn, former winemaker at Bernardus taught me of the importance of mouthfeel. Barry Gnekow, consultant and former J. Lohr winemaker taught me the importance of always overdelivering in every bottle, all the time. Rick Boyer (Jekel/Blackstone), Paul Clifton (Hahn Estates), and Christian Rougenant (Tangent/Baileyanna) have all added something to my technique and style.
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
ADAM: I make wine for wine drinkers. I make wine the owners are proud to take to a party. For me and my wife’s label, I make a wine that we can drink at home without getting bored of it.
WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
ADAM: Its a Sauvignon Blanc from the Paragon Vineyards in the Edna Valley appellation. I have always wanted to focus on Sauvignon Blanc as it is truly a difficult wine to make correctly. Edna Valley is probably my favorite appellation for the varietal as wines made from this appellation routinely contain a mélange of varietally correct flavors and aromas – gooseberry, grass, grapefruit, melon. The grapes were tank fermented very slowly, then taken down to neutral French barrels for extended lees aging for about 9 months. Secondary fermentation was inhibited so although there is a considerable amount of mouthfeel, the fruit flavors are pure and pronounced with a very racy acidity underscoring the whole affair.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
ADAM: Oh man. Easy. Steamed clams in butter, garlic, and white wine with a little parsley and a few bacon bits tossed in. Damn.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Paso Robles region so special?
ADAM: Virtually all I do is from the Central Coast of California. There are soooo many challenges that really excite me as a winemaker. As for Edna Valley, the direct ocean influence makes for an insanely long growing season so flavors are extreme, acids are pronounced, and pH is low. But, everything always seems so in balance.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
ADAM: Building it. We have this gorgeous facility on 132 acres (Villa San-Juliette) with two 3,000 sq/ft winery buildings that have just gone in. Next step is to load it up with equipment and a tasting room. I’m getting tired of making all of my wines at friends’ wineries…..
WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
ADAM: A glass of wine should ALWAYS leave you asking “What food would I pair with this?” It has to beg the question. It should be the first thought you have after your very first sip. I hope mine do just that. But a wine should still be complete enough to stand on its own as an aperitif.
WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
ADAM: I just had a new baby girl a few weeks back. Wait. That’s redundant. A “new” baby girl? As opposed to an “old” baby girl? OK. Im still a little sleep deprived…
WHITE: Congratulations, to you and your wife, Adam! And, 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 approximate location of the Hearst Ranch Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Hearst Ranch Winery
About This Wine:
Our 2007 “Lone Tree” exhibits genuine Cabernet Franc character with aromas of red currant, crushed black pepper, leather, game, and layers of chocolate cocoa. The flavor profile, driven by lush raspberry and chocolate, transitions into a mid-palate constructed of bright red fruit and blueberry flavors supported by balanced acidity. The “Lone Tree’s” back end is composed of soft tannins with a nod of coconut meat.
This classic Cabernet Franc makes a nice combination with lighter meats. Honey glazed pork tenderloin or pan-broiled Heritage Berkshire Hearst Ranch Porterhouse Pork Chop with fava beans, pancetta, and greens, are a great match. “Lone Tree” is a nice treat served with aged Vermont cheddar.
About The Winery:
Steve Hearst and Jim Saunders began their business and personal association by happenstance. Jim purchased a Hearst Ranch tour at a cancer fundraiser. As the saying goes, “a meeting of the minds” developed into this benevolent project – The Hearst Ranch Winery.
Independently, Stephen T. Hearst and Jim Saunders are accomplished businessmen that have the talent, imagination and integrity to create great things. Collectively, their shared vision on sustainable agriculture, nature conservancy and historical preservation brings Hearst Ranch Winery to fruition, with care, like the fruit in the vineyards. These men have fostered a friendship and an enduring devotion to their community.
The hand-crafted Inaugural Vintages of Hearst Ranch Wines have been brought to life by the collaboration of sound agricultural practices, impeccable winemaking and the philanthropic involvement of Steve Hearst and Jim Saunders. The fruit of California’s Central Coast vineyards is among the finest in the world. Blend in the talent of Winemaker Adam LaZarre and the Inaugural Vintages of Hearst Ranch Wines exhibit the excellence that is a testimony to the “Legacy of Quality™” that is synonymous with the Hearst tradition.
Saunders Vineyard in Paso Robles – In the early 1990s, it became clear to Jim and Debi Saunders that their newly purchased 90-acre ranch could be the realization of their dream of owning and farming their own vineyard. Soil testing and site evaluation began within a year of purchasing the Saunders ranch. The clay loam soils of these South and West facing hills were discovered to be ideal for farming wine grapes. The meso-climate of Eastern Paso Robles was a perfect site to farm Syrah and Petite Sirah. Initial planting began in 1993, with the development of Caldwell Syrah, Petite Sirah clone 3.
In just three years, the vineyard was contracted to Smith and Hook, where Jim Saunders met Winemaker Adam Lazarre. New scions of Tempranillo, Malbec, and Petite Verdot were grafted to the well-established Cabernet Sauvignon.
Presently, Saunders Vineyard is composed of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Petite Verdot, Malbec, and Tempranillo. The vines are trained to a vertical shoot positioning trellis to optimize vine vigor, capacity, and interior canopy micro-climate.
h3. Technical Analysis: