"2012 Winery of the Year" by Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine
Zinfandel is often called “California’s Grape,” and despite the fact that it has been genetically traced to Croatia, it certainly seems to show best all over the Golden State. Today’s offering comes from Frank Family in Napa Valley, a region certainly more well known for its Cabernet, but only because of the astounding prices some of its Cabs can fetch; Napa’s climate is also wonderful fro growing Zinfandel. Warm sunny days lead to well ripened Zinfandel grapes that tend to show more of Zin’s fruity side than the spicy, peppery side seen when grown in areas like Dry Creek Valley.
The 2011 California winegrape harvest was lighter and later than normal with flavors developing at lower sugar levels, giving winemakers the opportunity to make flavorful, elegant wines. A wet winter and spring delayed bloom and hindered fruit set, resulting in shatter in some regions, which decreased the overall crop load. A generally cool summer prolonged the growing season and harvest started very late in most areas. Early autumn rains prompted growers and wineries to pick many varieties at lower Brix.
With a dark magenta core and ruby hues around the rim, the 2011 Napa Valley Zinfandel delivers a delicate scent of red fruit and violets, while hints of sandalwood, sage and pepper embellish the sophisticated nose. The finesse on the palate reflects an elegant Zinfandel that is well balanced. Juicy black cherry pie and adequate levels of oak marry seamlessly. A great companion with Summer fare. Stock up and share with the family.
Wine Type: Red Wine
Varietal Composition: 89% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah
Appellation: Napa Valley
Harvest Date: September 27th to October 13th 2011
Aging: 18 months in 35% new French oak barrels, and 65% once and twice-filled French oak barrels
Bottling Date: March 2013
Tannin: 0.68 g/100ml
Alcohol %: 14.6
Take a trip back in time at the Frank Family Vineyards. First constructed as the Larkmead Winery in 1884, the building was refinished with native sandstone from the nearby hills in 1906 and still stands tall today. The massive stone edifice is considered an archetype of California’s wine country; it appears on the National Register of Historical Places and is listed as a Point of Historical Interest in the state of California. Owners Richard Frank and Connie Frank focus their energies on making superb still wines. The winery produces Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Sangiovese and several distinctly different Cabernet Sauvignons. The highly regarded Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which is barrel aged for two and one-half years, is emerging as one of the most sought after wines in the valley and their Napa Carneros Vineyards produce some of the finest Chardonnay available. The Sangiovese, a rising star, is created entirely from grapes grown on Rich’s property and the Zinfandel comes from the Pope & Chiles Valley. Once owned by wine legend Hans Kornell, the winery originally secured its reputation with sparkling wines. Five sparkling wines are handcrafted today in the old building: Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, occasionally the Rouge and Reserve. All of these are made in the traditional French methode champenoise style.
Frank Family Vineyards wines are produced in small quantities and currently sold only at the winery and a handful of select restaurants and wine shops. A visit to the winery is not complete without a story-filled tour or at least a walk through the historic building where the thick, stone walls, high-stacked barrels and rich bouquet of aging wines create the utmost in winery ambiance. The winery provides separate tasting areas for sparkling wines and still wines. Just outside, to the south of the building, visitors are welcome to sit under the giant oak trees, relax at the wooden picnic tables and enjoy spectacular vineyard views.
Learn more at www.frankfamilyvineyards.com.