2014 Division Cabernet Franc 'Granit'
Harvest date: September 20th & October 2nd
Final alcohol: 13.4% by vol
Vineyards: Mae’s Vineyard at Quady North – Applegate Valley
Aging: Two fermentations were made, one fully destemmed and one with 25% whole cluster, all French Oak ageing in two Bordeaux barrels and one puncheon
From the central Umpqua south to the California border, the 2014 vintage was quite warm and with little drama besides a few further off wildfires over the summer. We love the Mae’s Vineyard (part of the Quady North Vineyards) in the Applegate Valley AVA in southern Oregon and have worked with the grapes as the sole component of our Loire clones dominated based Cabernet Franc. Herb Quady has become one, if not, the best growers in the region, grew up in the family of the famed Quady Winery in California’s Central Valley, later became the vineyard manager for Randall Graham’s Bonny Doon wine empire before first coming north to southern Oregon with his sights on applying organic farming techniques to a region with mostly undiscovered vineyard potential. His Mae’s Vineyard block slopes southeast into the Applegate Valley in what can only be said as one the prettiest spots we’ve seen in the state. Loamy/clay and marine sediment overlay sits on top of a large granite slab (yes granite!), which makes this a truly distinctive site to work with. We picked our Cab Franc over two periods, an early picking that mostly went to the Béton blend and the later pick which was mostly used for our varietal Cabernet Franc.
For our second Cabernet Franc, we utilized the pied de cuve (native yeast build ups) technique to harness as much of the native yeast flora from the site to express the place each of these wines came from. Each of the ferments were fairly lengthy, notably the later pick portion, which was on the skins in one of our concrete fermenters for about a month. We are beyond pleased with the result from our 2nd varietal Cab Franc and so blown away by this site. The wine’s perhaps a bit richer than last years wine from Mae’s Vineyard, but still is very finessed, vibrant and balanced at 13.4% alc. We are reminded of the more Saumur styled Loire red wines with the distinct Cabernet Franc tobacco and red fruit traits with a bit of the wild whole cluster portion character.
The initial aromatics are tobacco, raspberry and classic Cabernet Franc vegetal varietal notes followed by some pretty herbal notes and a nice amount of black tea. The texture is medium bodied for Cabernet Franc with nice smooth tannins with a distinct palate that brings raspberry, dried tea and a good amount of earthiness on the palate. There’s only 100 or so cases of this wine, so be sure to grab a bottle quick if you’re a fan of the Loire style Cab Franc!