From the Deerfield Vault: This Reserve Cabernet Franc is from the vault, where we age special wines. We lay them down in their place of birth for a few too many more years until they reach that peak of flavor and complexity that can make wine a remarkable experience. This 2009 Cabernet Franc is now 10 years old and just reaching that threshold of exceptionality. We’ll sell a small lot of it for the delight it will bring and continue to age the rest for a few more years in its place of birth.

The Blend: Cabernet Franc is the progenitor of Cabernet Sauvignon, a cross of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, genetic modification in the old way by cross pollination and selection by the farmer. The flavor of Cabernet Franc is focused in the upper part of your palate, where you taste dark chocolate. The dark berry flavors combine with this focus to make Cabernet Franc taste like spiked dark chocolate truffles. Cabernet Sauvignon flavor is linear, from front to back, filling the sides and producing a long finish. The touch of Cabernet added to the Cab Franc broadens the Cab Franc profile to more completely fill the palate.

The Vintage: 2009 was a very good vintage for red wines in Sonoma. It was a perfect season following the renowned 2007 and hotter 2008. It’s wines are perhaps the best balance of the entire decade.

Elevage: After hand picking at physiological ripeness, the grapes were triple sorted and whole berry fermented. Fermentation began on natural flora and then inoculated with a pure strain yeast. Fermenters were punched down by hand to minimally macerate the berries. Max fermentation temp: 95°F, which extracted the longest tannins, the most glycerin and the best colors. Extended maceration for 6 to 12 days softened and integrated the tannins. Fermentation was completed in the barrels over a period of three months and aged in 50% French and 50% Pennsylvania Oak barrels, 28% new, for forty months. Initially released in October of 2014, it now has an additional 4 years of bottle age. The result is an exceptional experience.

At bottling: Alc. 15.1%. pH 3.55, T.A. 6.1 g/L R.S. 0.3 g/L, Unfined. Cross flow clarified at bottling, sterile bottled, Velcorin free. Unfined. Vegan. SO2 at release less than 12 ppm., Histamines less than 5 ppm.