California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from Franciscan is a fantastic red blend of great power as well as finesse. If you love big, rich, deeply layered Cabernet blends, then this wine belongs in your cellar!
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Mission Codename: Magnify The Soul
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Revisit our friends at Franciscan and secure the next vintage of their spectacular Magnificat Napa Valley Red Wine.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Franciscan Estate
Wine Subject: 2006 Magnificat – Red Wine Napa Valley
Winemaker: Janet Myers
Some of the best Bordeaux varietals in the world come, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, come from Napa Valley. A delicious and elegant example of the varietal, today’s wine is a Classic Napa red blend. Today’s wine is an expert blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petite Verdot aged for 18 months in 50% new, mostly French oak.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautifully dense and dark garnet with an opaque black heart. Along the edges, the color remains deep garnet and when swirled, fat color stained legs slowly descend to the wine below.
Smell – Bold and redolent with aromas of ripe and sweet black fruit especially black cherry along with blackberry and dark plum that are immediately followed by layers of toasted oak, brown spice and wild anise notes.
Feel – This dry full-bodied red has firm finely grained tannins that are interwoven with its dusty minerality and vibrant acidity creating an expansive and chewy mouth feel that lasts and lasts. Even after several hours of being open the structure remains solid, perfectly framing the rich ripe fruit.
Taste – Still youthful but very well balanced, but generally fruit forward with layers of dark and ripe black fruit including black cherry, blackberry and plum blend with wild anise, brown and black pepper spice. Toasted oak with hints of vanilla and mocha. Added complexity from sweet tobacco, earthy bramble, a touch of leather and hints of cedar box.
Finish – Extremely long and expansive with the sturdy textured mouthfeel leading the way as the fruit gently fades. This wine’s finely etched tannins dries the palate as it lingers begging for another sip.
Conclusion – The 2006 Franciscan Estate Magnificat is a fantastic Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (with a little Malbec and Petit Verdot for good measure) that packs a real punch in both aromas and flavors and has the structure that holds it all together. A delicious full, rich, bold, and generous wine that is perfect for any grilled meats or prime-rib. This wine is certainly youthful and thus if enjoying it now, be sure to let it breathe, otherwise cellar this wine for the next ten plus years.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Franciscan Estate can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Years ago, legendary Napa Valley winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff tasted wines from Franciscan’s Oakville estate and suggested that this vineyard would reach its finest expression as a blend in the style of the eminent wines of Bordeaux.
Many of the great wines of the world are blends, but when Franciscan started making Magnificat, there was no name for such a wine produced in America. The laws did not allow it to be labeled as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, but it was clearly more than a mere table wine. So in 1985, Franciscan Estate joined with a few other Napa Valley vintners, offering bottles of their proprietary blends with labels that read “Wine Waiting for a Name.” This was the beginning of a successful campaign to give winemakers the freedom to make the best wine possible, under the name Meritage.
We began with over two‐hundred separate small wine lots, then carefully selected the finest without regard to variety percentages. For Magnificat, our goal is to craft a wine as seamless and harmonious as the Bach masterwork for which the wine is named.
Appearance: Deep garnet
Aroma: Aroma Inviting aromas of dark cherry, sage, and red plums. Complex layers of ripe berries, with undertones of vanilla and cloves.
Flavor: Full‐bodied and textural, with ripe flavors of black plum and cherry, cocoa and cassis. A concentrated, rich palate with round tannins leads to a long finish interwoven with blackberry, anise and mocha.
About The Winery:
Franciscan has its roots deeply embedded in the soil of Napa Valley. Founded over three decades ago, wine industry revolutionaries Raymond Duncan and Justin Meyer shaped the winery’s beginnings. In 1985, renowned vintner Agustin Huneeus took over the reins, leading the winery to greatness through innovation and a commitment to small-lot winemaking.
Today, Director of Winemaking Janet Myers is preserving the winery’s legacy while leading it into the future. “We inherited a craftsman’s ethic here: work with nature, work in small lots, innovate. Our uniqueness depends on the details,” she says.
All of Franciscan’s winemakers have left their individual marks, but all have remained true to Franciscan’s signature: bold wines with the rare combination of rich, vibrant flavors yet fine, supple texture.
Franciscan’s output of legendary wines began with the its 1975 Cabernet Sauvignon, by Justin Meyer. This release established the Franciscan style based on making wine in small lots, then blending them together to achieve the greatest expression.
Recognizing that the world’s finest wines are blends, in 1985 Franciscan introduced Magnificat. Under vintner Agustin Huneeus, this proprietary blend of Bordeaux varietals pioneered the popular Meritage class of wines. Two years later, Franciscan made another dramatic impact on the world of wine when Greg Upton produced Cuvée Sauvage, the first Napa Valley Chardonnay fermented with wild yeast.
Janet Myers joined Franciscan in 2003, and was appointed Director of Winemaking in September 2005. “In the heart of Napa Valley, the Franciscan estate vineyards are the perfect place for me to explore Cabernet and its nuances. I love the body and texture of Cab, how it has layers of intensity and richness, but with such finesse when you get it right.”
Janet’s first harvest was at Robert Mondavi Winery, when she was still a student at the University of California at Davis. She has worked at leading vintners in Italy, Australia, and Napa Valley to pursue her passion for crafting fine wine. “When I realized that this was a profession that combined science and agriculture — my family background — I enrolled at Davis and haven’t looked back.”
Varietals: 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot
Appellation: Napa Valley
Cooperage: 18 months in small oak barrels, 50% of which were new; 78% French
Winemaker: Janet Myers