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: A Study in Red
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Revisit our friends at Franscican and secure the next vintage of their spectacular Magnificat Napa Valley Red Wine.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Franciscan
Wine Subject: 2007 Magnificat – Red Wine Napa Valley
Winemaker: Janet Myers
Backgrounder: The 2007 vintage marks our showing of the third successive vintage of this spectacular wine. This vintage also marks the finest expression of this wine to date. Franciscan’s Magnificat hold the honor of being our top-selling Meritage of all time and we expect that today’s 2007 will eclipse past showings.
The Oakville AVA, centrally located and adjacent to Napa Valley’s famous Rutherford AVA, was established in July 1993. Oakville is considered on of the most diverse AVA’s in the Napa area. 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 – Darkest garnet hues, with evenly concentrated color, from core to edge. After a hearty swirl, fat wine-hued tears run slowly down the inside of the glass.
Smell – Lush and deeply layered, with deep aromas of black cherry, blackberry jam, blueberry, red plum and toasty oak. As the wine opens up, it reveals warm spice, Bing cherry, bramble, dried herbs and a hint of cocoa dust.
Feel – Soft on the initial attack, then the wine becomes full-bodied and softly drying. Plush tannins and flinty minerals compliment the bright acidity. Very well-structured and very full, the wine becomes more elegant as it breathes.
Taste – Decant for best expression, and be rewarded with full, ripe flavors of dark cherry and dark berry preserves. Blackberry and smoky blueberry are prominent jammy notes, at first. As the wine opens up, more complex flavors of black plum, oak, braised mission fig, brown spice, flint, dark cocoa and dried herbs emerge.
Finish – Very long and very expansive, with dark fruit gradually yielding to oak, dark spice, minerals and chocolate. Plush tannins gradually dry the palate, reminding you to take another delicious sip.
Conclusion – The 2007 Franciscan Magnificat is the finest follow-up to the previous vintages we have shown. This vintage is characterized by its darker, richer fruit flavors and more elegant mouthfeel. It is important to decant this big wine. We found that the more we spun the wine in our glasses, the more it really came to life, revealing fuller flavors and deeper aromatics. Decanting and swirling also really softened the wine which, on opening could seem a little hard-edged. Rest assured, these edges wear off quickly. Enjoy this wonderful blend with risher foods, grilled meats, or all on its own. drinking beautifully, now, our tasting panel all agreed that this wine could be cellared for many years.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Franciscan can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Appearance: Deep garnet
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.
Years ago, legendary Napa Valley winemaker Andre Tchelistchfff 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.
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