Now that our 2019 Cabernet Sauvignons have been released from the cellar, we invite you to delve into some of Napa Valley’s most highly regarded appellations from which we source from to consider not just what this vintage is capable of achieving, but also to examine how diverse the geology and terrior are throughout America’s most prestigious wine region. Over three decades, we have gained access to some truly legendary vineyards and have formed close relationships with our family of growers. Every vintage, our winemaking team brings together top-quality Cabernet fruit from throughout the region, including our estate vineyards in Rutherford, as well as from our growers along the valley floor, hillside, and mountainside. The resulting wines are emblematic of their specific vineyard sites – a direct translation of pure Calistoga, Rutherford, and Mt. Veeder quality.
Calistoga: Ripeness and Refinement
Just north of the Frank Family tasting room in Calistoga, Todd Graff procures fruit from the historic Samual Brannan Vineyard to craft our wine club-exclusive Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon. This historic vineyard site was originally purchased in 1861 by Samual Brannon, the founder of Napa Valley’s northern-most town, the Napa Valley Railroad, and once-famous hot spring resorts. As one of the oldest vineyard plantings in Napa Valley, the Samual Brannon Vineyard presents us with an opportunity to express a warmer climate Cabernet, from the eastern floor of Napa, alongside the Vaca mountain range.
Calistoga combines the best of the mountain appellations in Napa with those on the valley floor, creating a wine that displays both freshness and energy. The sun-soaked days and well-draining soils drive ripeness and concentration while the modest elevation and large diurnal temperature shift encourage ample acidity, which is why our Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon is so long-lived.
Rutherford: Balance and Length
Frank Family’s original estate vineyard, Winston Hill, alongside newcomer Benjamin Vineyard, which we added to the portfolio in 2012, are the foundation for our Cabernet program at the winery. Rising 500 feet above the valley floor at the foot of the Vaca Mountain Range, Winston Hill is a natural wonderland of hand-terraced hills and varying soils and microclimates that give our winemaking team a steep advantage in the cellar.
Across the valley floor, nestled in the Rutherford Bench, sits Benjamin Vineyard. Recently undergoing a complete replant to promote vine and soil health, Benjamin Vineyard is gearing up to be our Cabernet darling. The nearly 60 acres of planted vines that encompass Benjamin have some of the most ideal soils to produce Napa Valley’s best Cabernet Sauvignons. Comprised of gravelly, sandy loam soils, this perfect spot is heavily saturated with minerals to allow for healthy balanced vines. While fertile, the soils are also incredibly well- draining ensuring that there is enough stress throughout the growing season to reduce yields and in turn produce concentrated, complex, and balanced wines.
Frank Family’s RHF Cabernet Sauvignon, perfectly displays the finesse of Rutherford, coming from both our prized hillside and valley floor Rutherford estates. The 2019 has all the means to age gracefully for another decade-plus, but is delightfully appealing right now.
Mount Veeder: Rustic and Edgy
Frank Family’s Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon has been a longtime favorite amongst our club members and critics alike. Just 500 cases were made in 2019 from the Beller Vineyard, located in the Mayacamas Range facing the Oakville Grade. Set on a mesa surrounded by manzanita and madrone forests, this vineyard has well- draining volcanic soils and a cooler mountain climate to cultivate grapes with excellent varietal character and balanced acidity.
The vineyard’s high elevation also provides added exposure to the elements such as wind, sun, and cooling temperatures, thus forcing the grape skins to thicken in response. The thicker skins lend to a bigger tannin profile in our Mt. Veeder Cabernet compared to those from the valley floor. The resulting wine is rustic, bold, and edgy in character.
Ending on a High Note
As the saying goes – all good things must come to an end and the same is true for our Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. After six years of sourcing fruit from Beller Vineyard, the 2019 will sadly be the last. But what a remarkable note to end on – with the incredibly nuanced 2019 vintage. This wine will certainly be missed in our lineup, but we are excited to introduce a new single- vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, hailing from Frank Family’s Benjamin Vineyard, to club members in Fall 2023!