I tasted all of the current releases from more than 40 members of the California Cabernet Society and the belle of the ball turned out to be a Cabernet Franc from Calistoga.
The 2007 Kenefick Ranch Winery Caitlin’s Select Cab Franc was outstanding.
Historically, Cabernet Franc is used in Bordeaux-style blends with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. On its own, it can sometimes be a shrinking violet, but not in this case.
I found the Kenefick Cab Franc ($52) to be the most complete and ready to drink wine of the tasting, which was held earlier this week at the Bentley Reserve in San Francisco.
It was round with sweet red fruit countered by a nice level of tannins. A bit of oak, but not too much, was the crowning touch on this red cherry-scented wine.
Dr. Thomas Kenefick, a retired San Francisco neurosurgeon, is the winery founder and namesake.
Kenefick started his second career with the purchase of vineyards in the northern end of the Napa Valley.
The 125-acre Kenefick estate features vineyards planted along the edge of the Palisade Mountains.
Kenefick operates mostly as a grower.
He only entered the winemaking side of the business in earnest in 2002 when a couple of his clients opted out of their contracts and he had to find something to do with those grapes.
Entre Nous – Between Us
There was a wave of good Cabernet Sauvignon in the tasting, but one really stood out from the pack.
The 2009 Entre Nous Cabernet Sauvignon from Kristine Ashe Vineyards is a spectacular bottle of Napa red wine.
Winemaker Phillipe Melka — who also has worked for Lail,Vineyards, Bryant Family, 100 Acre and Vineyard 29 — has crafted a memorable wine here from hand-picked and hand-sorted grapes grown in one-acre “micro blocks” on the 25-acre Ashe estate in Oakville.
The Entre Nous (which means “between us” in French) is a vivacious mouthful of deep purple juice.
The taste of this $120 wine lingers in the mouth for what seems like forever.
The wine is a swirl of rich red fruits and soft tannins that begs for another sip… and another.