Hook & Ladder
2011 Russian River Valley Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc •Los Amigos Ranch
Russian River Valley
Today’s Hook & Ladder Vineyards and Winery 2011 Russian River Valley Cabernet Franc had everyone on our tasting panel raving. We have had the great fortune of featuring the two previous vintages of this wine, and we all agreed that this 2011 vintage is the best yet!
Today’s stunning wine is lively, juicy, and delicious, with not a flaw in sight. The finish is the absolute highlight: silky and almost impossibly soft.
Cabernet Franc is one of our favorite varietals here at The Wine Spies, and today’s offering from Hook & Ladder is a wonderful example of the best aspects of the varietal. If you haven’t tried one lately, or aren’t familiar with Cab Franc, today’s elegant, well-balanced, and very approachable wine is the perfect way to get started!
Dark scarlet hued at the center of the glass, with a radiant purple-red encircling the glass.
Deep and aromatic, with sweet plum, black cherry, and ripe blackberry quickly followed by fresh berry bramble, soft baking spice, and hints of sage.
Well balanced and absolutely delicious fruit notes of fresh strawberry and dark boysenberry mingle with sweet tobacco leaf, espresso bean, dark chocolate, black peppercorn, and touches of clove and cinnamon.
Incredibly supple on entry, the lengthy finish is quite elegant, with the dark fruit slowly trailing away into hints of sweet earth.
A perfectly grilled duck breast, served with a sour cherry balsamic reduction.
What the Winery Says
Our Cabernet Franc’s elegant character is immediately apparent in its opulent cherry-garnet color. A rich bouquet of oak and ripe cherry is complemented by the sophisticated aromas of vanilla, tobacco, and raspberry. A full, smooth finish makes this wine excellent by itself or with a hearty meal.
Located on our family’s Los Amigos Ranch just south of Healdsburg, these grapes thrive in the warmer heat than our vineyards in the valley. The unique weather of this Chalk Hill sub appellation allows this big red to ripen slowly, fully developing the complex flavors that make this wine unique.
- Jason DeLoach
- Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California
- Los Amigos Ranch
- Fruit Variety
- 90% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot
About the Winery
In 1970, San Francisco firefighter Cecil De Loach and his wife Christine staked their claim in the wine grape business by purchasing 24 acres of old-vine Zinfandel in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. For several years they watched others make notable wine from their grapes before making the decision to produce wine under the De Loach label in 1975. More than three decades later, Cecil and Christine sold that label and have continued their winemaking skills at the helm of Hook and Ladder Vineyards, a small family winery that employs a simple philosophy – craft exceptional wines, from the highest quality grapes, that people love to drink. We consider each step of the winemaking process an opportunity to showcase the distinctive flavors contained within our carefully cultivated grapes.
Winemaker Jason De Loach
Jason De Loach was introduced to the wine industry in the customary way; physical labor. As a young man at De Loach Vineyards he eventually worked his way into the cellar. At the age of eighteen he became involved in harvest, crush, and later on became Production Coordinator as well.
After cutting his teeth at De Loach, Jason moved up to the title of Cellar Master for Balletto Winery, where he oversaw and operated a significant portion of the winemaking process. With commitment to his craft, Jason soon was named Assistant Winemaker under renowned winemaker Dan Cedarquist.
Keeping with the tradition of his grandfather, Jason attended viticulture classes, and then took courses in enology from the University of California at Davis. After helping produce a number of gold medal winning wines at Balletto, Jason returned to his family roots at Hook and Ladder in 2006. There he began as Cellar Master and soon became Winemaker.
Jason has been producing outstanding wines ever since; having his pick of the very best fruit from over 400 acres of vineyards farmed by his grandfather Cecil De Loach for over 30 years, Jason continues to generate exceptional wines.
On 375 acres situated in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, our vineyards produce cool climate grapes widely recognized as some of the finest in the world. Grape growers of the early 1900’s recognized the sites of our vineyards as being uniquely suited for wine grape growing. Building on their knowledge and experience, we have matched the soil and climate of each parcel with the varietals most likely to achieve its full potential.
Sustainable Framing Practices
Hook and Ladder Winery has taken a number of steps not only to preserve but also to promote the natural environment of Sonoma County.
Cecil and Christine De Loach have included 118 acres of their vineyards properties in the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. These properties include an oak woodland which, unlike many parts of Sonoma County, are regenerating well.
A number of years ago we started an oak tree nursery to provide an in-house source of native oak trees to be used in our environmental projects. Along with our infant oak trees we do not cut down healthy, mature oak trees, we simply make them an integral part of our vineyards.
In dealing with the animals that share vineyard land with us we have implemented a number of creative and environmentally conscious techniques such as barn owl boxes and raptor perches which promote natural predator-prey relationships and reduce the need for environmentally harmful pest control techniques.
We practice integrated pest management and use only the most environmentally safe chemicals, those that kill the pest and do not affect any other life.
Hook and Ladder Winery makes a special effort to preserve our most important agricultural resource, water. We are constantly vigilant of the creek, stream and river ways and their ecosystem, never allowing the vineyard edge to impose on them. We take steps to avoid the contamination of waterways with soil, sediment, or pesticides.