2014 Martin Ray "Forchini" Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Franc
Our Cabernet Franc is one of three Bordeaux varietals that we have been grateful to receive even in minute amounts, from a family-owned ranch in the Dry Creek Valley. The block is set on the gravelly eastern slopes of the valley, sharing the ranch with century-old Zinfandel vines. Its orientation places the vines in full sun that lingers late into the summer evenings, providing the perfect climate to develop its outstanding varietal character and richness.
The 2014 vintage was challenging due to drought, but produced amazing fruit with smaller clusters and lower yields. An ideal harvest with consistently moderate temperatures and weather conditions, allowed the vines and fruit to stay healthy and maintain concentrated flavors and exceptional quality.
Due to both the robust nature of the fruit, and the small amount we receive, we hand-sort our Cabernet Franc, gently destem it, then transfer it to brand new French oak puncheons, each holding less than half a ton of fruit. During fermentation, each puncheon is punched down by hand three times daily until reaching dryness. At this point, by allowing the wine to sit in contact with the skins in conjunction with the oak for up to two weeks, we are able to maximize the extraction of the fruit's aromatics and flavor while taming and integrating its tannins. It is then basket pressed and racked to 50% new French oak for 16 months of aging.
This is a wine produced with an appreciation that Cabernet Franc is much more than just a blender. The bouquet boasts layers of delicious ripe blackberry and boysenberry anchored by aromatic fresh tobacco leaves, wild sage, and a hint of white pepper. The mouthfeel is dense, yet juicy, with ideally balanced grape and oak tannins. The toasty, coffee and dark chocolate finish wraps up the palate cleanly.