2019 Cabernet Franc Melchior Kemper Vineyard
Produced from 962 vines planted at 800 feet of elevation in our Melchior Kemper Vineyard -- 100% Cabernet Franc, fermented with wild, native yeasts, aged for 17 months in French oak, and bottled in the spring of 2021. This is a wine for Cabernet Franc aficionados, now coming of age to reveal its ethereal perfume and patrician balance of fruit and structure. 235 cases produced.
Melchior Kemper Vineyard
September 30, 2019
17 months in French oak barrels, 50% new, 50% used
April 12, 2021
Fermented dry, no sugar added
The 2019 growing season began with much needed rains. With a reserve of water in the ground, the vines grew quickly. Our vineyard team struggled to keep up with the ground vegetation and canopy management. Removing lateral shoots and excess fruit was especially important in 2019 to maintain balance. The growing season was even, with no heat spikes in the autumn. We were at leisure to pick at optimal ripeness. The wines are generous and plush with exceptional aromatic complexity. Harvest was late and drawn out, for the red varieties extending from the 20th of September for our Merlot to the 14th of October for our Petit Verdot. The berries and clusters were large, juicy, and perfectly healthy and ripe. The devastation of the 2018 wildfires aside, 2018 is a complete knockout. These are some of the brightest, most aromatically intense wines Napa has seen in almost a decade, with a finesse and a silkiness of tannins unmatched in recent memory.
Time and experience have taught us that our Cabernet Franc particularly benefits from both time in bottle and then in the decanter. For the first few minutes after opening, the wine is subdued, as if waiting to be sought out. But then time and air begin to work their magic and the Cabernet Franc unfolds. The aromatics are dazzling. 2019 shows more dark fruit than red, as well as plums with mocha. The tannins become imperceptible and the palate broad, generous and ample.