Yorkville Cellars may seem a bit of a secret. Indeed, the Yorkville Highlands AVA itself is a bit of a hidden gem, found squeezed between Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley AVA and Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley AVA. Only one percent of Yorkville’s 40,000 acres is planted to vines, but amongst that one percent are 21 different grape varieties. Yorkville Cellars is one of the 25 wineries found in this mountainous region and the only one growing all eight main Bordeaux grapes and producing them as varietal wine. Who likes Cab Franc?

About the Wine: The Yorkville Cellars 2015 Cabernet Franc is made from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes, hand-picked harvested from the Yorkville Cellars estate vineyards located in the Yorkville Highlands AVA of Mendocino County. After harvest, the grapes were gently pressed and cold-soaked for three days in open top fermenters. The wine then fermented until complete dryness, after which they were transferred to the press. The wine settled in stainless steel tanks for 24 hours, then racked for aging. The wine aged in 100% French oak barrels for 17 months. Finally, the wine was racked into a tank, fined with organic egg whites, and loosely filtered before bottling.

13.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Yorkville Cellars 2015 Cabernet Franc and breathe in a bit of smoke, cedar plank, blackberries, ash, and nighttime moisture. This 100% Cabernet Franc pours with a color that is the very definition of red, with just a delicate aura of rouge. In the glass, the wine settles a bit denser at its core, fading out to a ruby-gem-like quality.

Initial aromas are of rich blackberry compote or jam with just a hint of chocolate. Swirl and release some sweet bell pepper notes, a slight scent of spearmint, and a consistent background of wet cedar plank. The palate is cotton-y with tannins straight away, and they hold through to the very end. The acid is a solid medium, accenting the fruit flavors that symbiotically cut through those tannins. Dominant flavors are of wet cedar wood, cherry wood, cherry liqueur, sweet bell pepper skins, a hint of bittersweet chocolate, and just a faint bit of ash. The finish is long, though dry, leaving a lingering after breath filled with the flavor of bittersweet chili-chocolate cake.

Enjoy this wine now for it’s vivacity and fun. Cellar this wine for five to ten years to experience more depth.

Food Pairing: I paired the Yorkville Cellars 2015 Cabernet Franc with a meatless dish: zucchini “pasta” noodles tossed with a boca meat bolognese, garnished with fresh parmesan and grated truffle. Straight-away what I loved about this pairing was the truffle: it’s earthy, funky flavors seemed to smooth out the texture of the wine, providing a more seamless palate. The spices in the sauce brought out a bit of that initial jamminess first sensed on the nose, giving way to strong fruit flavors.

But that finish. For me it was all about that decadent finish — a finish that was assertive enough not to be persuaded by food.

More Info: I received the Yorkville Cellars 2015 Cabernet Franc as a sample for review. (Cheers Ed!) Retail: $34. For more information about Yorkville Cellars, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Yorkville Cellars website.

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