Vaquero Cellars

2005 Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc •Camp 4 Vineyard

California: Paso Robles

Offer Expired:Apr 09, 2008 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What we say

If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Vaquero Cellars.

Mission Codename: Vaquero, Te Quiero

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Procure a Paso Robles Cabernet Franc – made by a Wine Spies-favorite winemaker

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Vaquero Cellars

Wine Subject: 2005 Cabernet Franc

Winemaker: Jim Porter

Backgrounder: Winemaker Jim Porter makes one of our very favorite Syrahs. When Jim was under surveillance by The wine Spies Earlier this year, we learned that he also made wines for Vaquero Cellars, a famous Paso Robles winery with a reputation for great wines. Today we send Agent Red to Paso to investigate Vaquero Cellars and their Cabernet Franc. Read his tasting notes and mission report below.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep and inky burgundy in color (nicely dark for a Cab Franc) with great concentration right to the edge of the glass, a very loose surface, and tightly-space and very s l o w moving legs that creep down the glass

Smell – Deeply fragrant with dark flowers, earth and fruits of ripe plum, green wood and mildest cedar

Feel – Round, full-bodied and very mouth-coating with rich tannins and a dryness that grabs your cheeks and puckers your lips

Taste – Delicious dark and dusky flavors with black plum, black cherry, violet, tomato vine and mild cigar box

Finish – Firm, and dry initially as the wines tannins take hold. Then, flavors seem to return to your mouth, adding sweetness and fruit – which then tapersoff beautifully

Conclusion – This is a delicious wine, and the first Paso Robles Cabernet Franc I have ever tasted. I did not know what to expect, so kept an open mind… and was pleasantly blown away. This is a big, rich and bold wine with great flavor and the right acidity to go with nearly any foods. This wine reminds us of a Cabernet Sauvignon in that it drinks big, but it tastes like a bold Cabernet Franc, rather than a Cali Cab Sauv. If you love Cabernet Franc as much as I do, but find some Cab Franc a tad thin or light, this is a great wine for you. If you’ve never had a really rich Cabernet Franc – that is also delicious – this is a fantastic wine for you as well!

Mission Report:

We first learned of winemaker, Jim Porter, when we investigated another fantastic winery – and their incredible Syrah. Whenever we are blown away by a wine, we make it a point to taste every one of that winery’s wines – and we also do a background check on the winemaker. Why? Because in the wine business, winemakers – great winemakers – often consult with multiple wineries, helping them to craft their wines.

I don’t want to focus overly much on the winemaker for today’s wine because, truly, a fine wine springs from the wonderful and sometimes mystical combination of soil, grape clone, region, vinification techniques, winemaker and even winery owners.

After tasting Jim Porter’s other wines, I set off on a mission to find his other progeny – and found it in this really killer Cabernet Franc from Vaquero Cellars. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a Cab Franc fanatic. If you know this, you also know that I am very picky about the Cabernet Franc wines that I will imbibe.

Today’s Cab Franc is a somewhat unusual one in that it has a boldness and a bigness that is usually reserved for big California Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cab Francs that I enjoy are always juicy and delicious, to be sure, but today’s wine has a little extra ooomph that I have never experienced in a Franc. This Vaquero is a big and bold and almost over-the-top wine that falls just short of knocking you on your butt. It retains its composure, however, delivering just the right amount of flavor and enough balance and acidity to go with most meals.

Vaquero Cellars has rustled together all of the right elements in this great wine. It may not be for the faint of heart, but if you love Cab Franc and you love giant Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a great wine for you, dear Operative!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the the Vaquero Tasting Room (by appointment only) can be seen in this satellite photo.


What the winery says

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Winemaker’s Notes:

Full bodied and rich with an awesome color, very easy drinking with ripe fruit aromas and flavors, and a mouthful of sweet plums. A fantastic food friendly beauty.

Vineyard Designationor Source:

The grapes were harvested on October 10, 2005 from Camp 4 Vineyard, yielding 4.0 tons per acre. The grape clusters were gracious and produced 155 gallons of juice per ton, providing plenty of concentrated flavors in the finished wine.


We crushed and destemmed the grapes into open top 1-1/2 ton fermenters. After the must warmed to 52 degrees F, the bins were inoculated with BDX cultured yeast. This strain is specific for its use in Syrah to enhance the spice, fruit flavors and aromas of the grapes. Primary fermentation lasted eight days when we pressed the must into 500 gallon tanks. The wine settled for two days before racking into barrels. We used 20% new French, 10% European oak, and 60% neutral barrels. The wine was inoculated with OENOS cultures to start the secondary malolactic fermentation. The wine aged in barrels for 22 months.

About The Winery:

The Vaquero Cellars label was inspired because of the history and Spanish legacy of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

Our wines reflect an attentive selection of vineyards and appellation, enabling us to showcase authentic fruit flavors with finesse and complexity. Current production is approximately 2000 cases with 5 excellent varietals.

Our first wine was a 2005 Syrah. Syrah is identified by the Wine Spectator as one of the rising stars of California. It is absolutely a fantastic Syrah. We are now introducing several new varietals, browse our wine list to see what we have.

Technical Analysis:

Winemaker: Jim Porter

Appellation: Paso Robles

Composition: 100% Sangiovese, Camp 4 Vineyard

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