All About 2020 Cabernet Franc with Bryan Kays

January 24, 2024

Dive into the 2020 vintage from a winemaker’s perspective, and gain insights into the challenges and triumphs of an unforgettable year.

A Q&A With Bryan Kays

All About 2020 Cabernet Franc

Meet Bryan Kays, the mastermind behind our exquisite wines. Join Bryan as he takes you on a captivating exploration of the 2020 vintage of Cabernet Franc and shares insights into the challenges and triumphs of the unforgettable year. Discover the delights of Cabernet Franc, its history, and the meticulous artistry that goes into crafting each bottle. Get ready to uncork the richness and savor the essence of a truly extraordinary vintage!

2020 Vintage Update:

“The pandemic and a challenging wildfire season will mark our memories of the unforgettable 2020 vintage. We saw less than half of our normal rainfall, starting off quite dry and staying that way through the vintage. The dry start along with unsettled weather during bloom resulted in a much smaller crop than we typically expect. As we got to midsummer, all indicators led us to expect an early season. We kicked off harvest on August 12, one of the earliest in our history. We were selective in our harvest windows, fermentations, and blends because of the late-season wildfires. While we ended up making less wine, overall the wines show the intensity of a dry, warm vintage, with great concentration and tannin.”

2020 Cabernet Franc Tasting Notes:

“Opening with black cherry and cedar aromas, elements of earth, bay leaf and juniper closely follow. The palate shows more cherry, chocolate and black pepper, all wrapped in silky tannin.”

What Bryan Likes About Cabernet Franc:

“The history of Cabernet Franc is fascinating. It is an ancient variety, possibly propagated as early as the 11th century. As such, it is also the parent of many varieties, most notably Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Franc is also a variety that is very sensitive to the region where it is grown and the way it is farmed. In the best examples and vintages, there is a great aromatic intensity with a delicate nature.

We originally planted Cabernet Franc as a blending component to go with the Cabernet Sauvignon but quickly realized how interesting the variety was on its own and began to bottle it as a varietal wine. The variety is very expressive, and this wine is often a staff favorite!”

Key Characteristics of Cabernet Franc:

“Cabernet Franc is an early ripening variety in The Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, typically the first of our Bordeaux varieties ready to be picked. We are looking for grassy and peppery notes in the grapes at harvest. We like to handle the variety very gently in the winery in order to coax the interesting aromatics out of the berries and into the wine without extracting too much tannin. We age the wine in a mix of standard barriques and 500L puncheons  to preserve Cabernet Franc’s delicacy.”

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