Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Maxville 2014 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

Maxville 2014 Cab FrancIt’s hard to beat a Napa Cab Franc done right.

Cab Franc Stands Tall

In a world gone mad, Cabernet Franc is one of life’s great pleasures.

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While some might erroneously think of Cab Franc as an offshoot of Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s actually the other way around. Cabernet Franc (along with Sauvignon Blanc) is the genetic parent of Cabernet Sauvignon.

We really started getting into Cab Franc during our repeated visits to the Finger Lakes wine region. Riesling reigns as the supreme white grape in the chilly climate there and Cabernet Franc thrives as the top red.

Cabernet Franc is far from uncommon, but is mostly a smaller percentage blending partner in wines. You’ll find it in Bordeaux wines as well as American red blends including Meritage.

For the true Cab Francophile, there’s nothing like a single varietal Cabernet Franc. We recently uncorked the 2014 Maxville Cab Franc from Napa Valley and were delighted with what we tasted.

Chiles Valley Creation

Maxville 2014 Cabernet Franc and BarramundiChiles Valley is a remote district in Napa Valley that became an AVA in 1999. There are just a handful of wineries there, with less than 1,000 acres planted with grapevines. One of its premier wineries is Maxville Lake Winery, which released its first vintage in 2014. We were lucky enough to procure a bottle of the inaugural Cabernet Franc release.

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There were 2,000 cases produced. This small-production masterpiece was aged for 18 months in French oak, 40% of which was new. Malolactic fermentation was used and results in an a rich, full texture. A dash of Petite Sirah (5%) is added to the wine.

Normally we’d be digging into a nice steak, but I’ve been trying to cut back on red meat. Instead we paired the wine with Barramundi with teriyaki glaze, faro and sweet potato.

The pairing worked brilliantly. This Cab Franc is about finesse not blunt force (even though it has 14.5% ABV). There were billowing notes of cedar and raspberry with luscious red fruit. Chocolate notes accented the wine which ends in a silky finish.

The current Maxville Cab Franc release is 2016, which has a retail price of $60. This, or any other Maxville wine, is a must buy!

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