2004 Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc •Truchard Estate Vineyard
California: Napa Valley: Carneros
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
Today’s wine is the beautiful example of perfect Carneros Cabernet Franc. Treat yourself to a delicious, food-friendly and elegant Cabernet Franc for the holidays
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Mission Codename: The great Cab Franc Emergency
Operative: Agent Sparkle and Agent Blush, with Agent Red
Objective: Agent Red is suffering severe Cabernet Franc withdrawals. Dispatch Agent Sparkle and Agent Blush to recover an incredible Cab Franc
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Truchard Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2004 Cabernet Franc
Winemaker: Sal De Ianni
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. This explains why we have not shown a Cab Franc here in some time. And that makes for a very cranky Agent Red. On noting Red’s foul mood, Agent Sparkle and Agent Blush took matters into their own hands to bring Red back from the brink – by uncovering today’s superb Cabernet Franc. Read their tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby red with a perfectly clear heart of pure ruby. The beautiful color of the wine is perfectly concentrated, right out to the sides of the glass. When you swirl this wine, you notice a speedy surface that keeps turning long after the glass is set down. Legs on this wine start high on the glass and then run down the glass at varying speeds
Smell – Deeply aromatic and highly perfumed with blackberry, black currant, violet and tomato stem with earth, leather, truffle and a lightly tarry bell pepper
Feel – Soft and light-weight at first. The velvety and smooth start leads to a settling-in all around the mouth, gripping the tip of the tongue at first, and then the edges and rear and, finally, the inside of the cheeks. This happens in a progression, which is a fun thing to experience
Taste – A perfect balance of bright fruit, fresh vegital and fresh herbal characteristics, this wine is not dominated by one or the other – as can happen with some Cabernet Franc. Present in this delicious wine are layers of dark cherry, plum, mushroom, violet, tomato vine, red currant, blackberry and tar. For those of you not familiar with the ‘tar’ description, please do not get us wrong. This flavor is subtle and really adds a great deal to the appeal and complexity of this wine
Finish – This wine presents interesting transitions – from initial taste finish – in a way that is unique to us. Hold the wine in your mouth, and the feelings change. On swallowing, the flavors of the wine actually deepen in your mouth. Eventually, the flavors tail off, just slowly and very sweetly, leaving behind traces of minerally fruit and a hint of dryness
Conclusion – Agent Red is crazy about Cabernet Franc. We took some convincing when we were young Wine Spies recruits, but examples like today’s wine serve as shining justification of Red’s infatuation. Today’s wine is a distinctive, bold, complex and very flavorful wine that we took an immediate shine to. With a great balance of fruit and earthen components, this wine impresses us with its robust character and bright flavors. This is a complex wine, but it is also easy-drinking, with bright acidity that lends it to great food pairing potential. Agent Red is always going on and on about Cab Franc, calling it the ‘most delicious and food-friendly red varietal in existence’. In the case of today’s wine, we are deeply swayed!
AGENT BLUSH: Have you seen Agent Red today? GPS tracking puts him here at H.Q., but he’s not in his office.
AGENT SPARKLE: Did you check the cave? I heard him complaining about our recent lack of Cab Franc, so my guess is that you’ll find him there.
BLUSH: Not again… I have some surveillance reports to go over with him.
Our intrepid female agents make their way down to the Wine Spies Top Secret Wine Cave, somewhere in deep in wine country. There, they hear the mournful found of harmonica playing from deep within the cave.
IN UNISON: Agent Rrrrrrrrrr-ed!?
The harmonica abruptly stops.
AGENT RED: Over here…
SPARKLE: What’s up, Red? Why are you moping way down here?
Her inquiry is met with silence.
BLUSH: You know what this looks like, Agent Sparkle?
SPARKLE: No. It couldn’t be. It’s too soon.
BLUSH It’s a good thing you planned for just this emergency, Sparkle.
With this, our lady Agents take Agent Red by the hands, and lead him to a small anteroom, just off the main barrel chamber.
SPARKLE: Red. Sit. Now.
BLUSH: Now, Agent Red. Do as she says.
Slowly, Agent Red looks from Agent to Agent. Seeing that they mean business, he slowly sits down.
Agent Sparkle removes a painting from the wall, to reveal a small wall safe. Holding her eye to the retina scanner the safe emits a soft beep and then slowly hisses open. Agent Sparkle reaches in and pulls out a bottle of wine. Agent Red rolls his eyes and then yaws. That is, until he sees the label.
AGENT RED: You got a Truchard Cabernet Franc?1 A 2004?! HOW?
SPARKLE: That’s tradecraft, Red. I could tell you but…
ALL THREE AGENTS: “… you know!”
As old as that joke is among these veteran Wine Spies, the three agents laugh at their so called humor.
In the end, Agent Red was made whole again, and his tasting of the Truchard Cabernet Franc led to his insistance that the wine be shared with our Operatives today. As usual, our lady agents were one step ahead of Agent Red, for they had already procured an exclusive quantity for today!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Trouchard winery, which can be visted by appointment only, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Rich aromas of blueberry, cherry preserves, and cassis; highlighted with cedar and sweet vanilla. The mouth is layered with flavors of ripe plum, red currant, and plum. Velvety tannins fill the palate and provide a lengthy finish of dried red fruit and spice.
The 2004 vintage was nearly identical to the exceptional 2003 harvest. A dry spring with unusually high temperatures affected berry set and reduced yields by about 15%. Warmer summer temperatures easily ripened the small crop and led to an early harvest. 2004 produced big, powerful wines with rich aromas, ripe flavors, and excellent structure.
Winemaking Notes: All of the fruit was gently destemmed and crushed, then inoculated with Pasteur Red yeast. Each fermentation was pumped-over twice daily, with the temperature peaking at 90º F. The lots were pressed after 14 days of maceration. The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (40% new). Rackings occurred every 4 months until bottling in August of 2006. The final blend is 93% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is drinkable upon release, but will continue to develop over the next 10 – 15 years.
About The Vineyard:
The Truchard Estate Vineyard is located in the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. It is 380 acres of hills and valleys, which contain a variety of soils: clay, shale, sandstone, limestone, volcanic ash and rock. The combination of terrain, geology, and marine-moderated temperatures, provides ideal conditions for wine-growing. Cabernet Franc is planted in several different sites – on steep southwest-facing hillsides. The vines range from 8 to 22 years old, and produce wines that are deep in color, dominated by lush flavors of plum, berry, and spice. Cabernet Sauvignon which grows on adjacent blocks is blended in to provide firmness, complexity, and added age ability.
About The Winery:
Truchard Vineyards is a small family owned winery in Carneros region of Napa Valley. Proprietors Tony and Jo Ann Truchard have managed a successful vineyard and grown exceptional grapes for over 30 years. Through their hard work and devotion to this unique property, they helped pioneer grapegrowing in the Carneros. In 1989 the Truchards established a winery and began producing wines using only their estate-grown fruit.
About The Winemaker:
Sal De Ianni: I was born and raised in Greenfield, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. I attended Marquette University, and graduated in 1991 with a BS in Chemistry. In the fall of 1991 I moved to Evanston, Illinois, and began graduate studies at Northwestern University. My goal was to earn a Ph. D. in Analytical Chemistry, then find a well-paying job doing research and development. While at Northwestern, I enrolled in some wine appreciation classes hoping to break up the monotony of my research. Six months later the wine courses were more interesting than my research; I decided that I would rather pursue a wine-related job than a career in chemistry. By December of 1992 I had earned a MS in Analytical Chemistry; that same month I was accepted to the Viticulture and Enology department at UC Davis. I moved to California in May of 1993 and began classes that fall.
I worked my first harvest in 1994 at Hess Collection Winery. I spent 6 months in the cellar, and then returned to school. During the 1995 vintage, I worked at Cuvaison Winery, in both the cellar and the lab. After six months, I went back to Davis to finish my thesis:
“Investigating Methods of Detecting Urea in Wine.” In the summer of 1996, I received my MS in Enology and returned to Cuvaison for the upcoming harvest, as the enologist.
Immediately after harvest I was offered the opportunity work in Margaret River, Western Australia. I would be the “
temporary” winemaker at a small ultra-premium winery – Pierro Margaret River Vineyards. I left for Australia in January 1997 and returned to Cuvaison in August, just in time for the 1997 harvest there in California.
After my winemaking experience in Australia, it was hard to go back to being an enologist; so I began searching for a winemaking position in the Napa Valley. I answered a help-wanted ad the local paper which read “small, family-owned winery looking for a hands-on winemaker.” I joined Tony and Jo Ann Truchard at Truchard Vineyards in January 1998.
Harvest: Sept. 15 – Oct. 4
Brix at harvest: 24.5
pH: 3.62 pH
TA: 6.0 g/L
Release Date: February 1, 2008
Production: 529 cases
Suggested Retail: $28.00