2012 Zepaltas "Pickberry Vineyard" Sonoma Valley Cabernet Franc

SKU #1159573

Ryan Zepaltas may be best known for the incredible Pinots he makes, but we're excited that he's decided to venture outside his comfort zone. This Cabernet Franc comes from the Pickberry Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. The vines have contributed to the Ravenswood Pickberry Bordeaux Blend for years and were also the foundation of Joel Peterson's Cabernet Franc blend. After tasting bottles from the 1987 and 1994 vintages by the vineyard's owners, Cris and Lorna Strotz and a few from the secondary market, Ryan knew he had his grapes. The 2012 vintage was normal, but the Cabernet Franc matured extremely slowly. He picked in mid-October at just 21.6 brix (he was shooting for 23), and the results are gorgeous, feminine and fresh--like a Chinon with California flair. From the winery: "On the nose: lavender, crushed rocks, anise and black pepper. On the palate: blueberries, raspberry and of course the hallmark of Cabernet Franc: bell pepper. We get medium/fine grit tannins and [a] really fresh, lively palate."

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Price: $24.99
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Cabernet Franc

- While Cabernet Franc, a parent with Sauvignon Blanc to the ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon, frequently plays second fiddle in Bordeaux blends (though it does get more props on the Right Bank, where it dominates Cheval Blanc), this lighter, higher acid/lower tannin, early-maturing, perfumed red varietal is far from a wallflower. It is the headliner in the Loire Valley appellations of Saumur-Champigny, Bourgueil, St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Chinon and Anjou-Villages, where it makes exceptional, food-friendly wines. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc can be found in northern Italy, particularly in Friuli and in California where it is frequently used as a blending grape in Bordeaux-style wines. Heartier in the cold than Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc is gaining a foothold in northern and eastern wine regions like Canada, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).