Carlson Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Franc 2014
The 2014 growing season was a warm season, highlighted by an earlier than normal bud break followed by warm and generous weather conditions throughout the growing season. A warm stretch of weather in August accelerated the ripening of all of the grapes harvested that year. Definitely a year of the sun. Cabernet Franc is a Bordeaux variety can actually prefers a slightly more moderate climate and thus thrives in the Santa Ynez Valley. The winemaker blended in 21% Petit Verdot in this wine to add a bit of structure and to enhance the flavor profile of the wine. These two varieties together create a wine that can
be seductively rich and well structured. The wine enters the palate with generous mouthfeel. The wine coats the palate and has a nice lingering finish. The fruit, tannins and overall mouthfeel are well balanced. As it opens over time, the richness becomes more pronounced and the texture becomes more integrated and coating. The wine was aged in French Oak barrels of which 33% was new. The balance of the barrels were 2-5 year old barrels. This gives this wine a perfect amount of new wood flavor which integrates
nicely with the flavors from the more neutral barrels, think integration and balance. There are aromas of plum, light herbs and earth. The Italian Herb, Sage component that often is apparent in Cabernet Franc is seemingly less forward in this wine. This is due to more canopy management in the vineyard which allowed more sunlight into the fruiting zone along with the slightly warmer weather.
Chuck Carlson’s winemaking career in Santa Barbara County spans more than 34 years, including the past ten years as the proprietor of Carlson Wines, specializing in limited-edition wines including Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills along with Cabernet Franc and several aromatic white wines from the Santa Ynez Valley.
As a young winemaker with a newly minted enology degree from Fresno State University, Chuck first joined Zaca Mesa Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley, where he helped create the winery’s groundbreaking Rhône varietal program. The “school of Zaca Mesa” has since become renowned for launching the careers of many notable Central Coast winemakers. For nearly 20 years, Chuck served as the winemaker at Curtis Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley, which was founded as one of California’s first wineries to specialize exclusively in Rhône varietals.
Along the way, however, Chuck never lost his personal affinity for the Pinot Noir grape, and in 2004 he launched Carlson Wines, with the singular goal of crafting a trio of Pinot Noirs showcasing the individual qualities of three standout vineyards in three premier Central Coast appellations. He has since expanded his offerings to Cabernet Franc and aromatic whites.
Among Chuck’s personal interests is deep sea fishing, and his related adventures have earned him the nicknmame "Calypso." Chuck and his wife have two grown children, and live in Arroyo Grande.
Ranging from cool and foggy in the west to warm and dry in the east, the Santa Ynez Valley is a climatically diverse growing area. The most expansive AVA within the larger Santa Barbara County region, Santa Ynez is also home to a wide variety of soil types and geographical features. The appellation is further divided into four distinct sub-AVAs—Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District and Happy Canyon—each with its own defining characteristics.
A wide selection of grapes is planted here—more than sixty different varieties, and counting. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir dominate in the chilly west, while Zinfandel, Rhône blends, and Bordeaux blends rule the arid east. Syrah is successful at both ends of the valley, with a lean and peppery, Old-World sensibility closer to the coast and lush berry fruit further inland.
Cabernet Franc, a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, is the subtler and more delicate of the Cabernets. Today Cabernet Franc produces outstanding single varietal wines across the wine-producing world. Somm Secret—One of California's best-kept secrets is the Happy Canyon appellation of Santa Barbara. Here Cabernet Franc shines as a single varietal wine or in blends, expressing sumptuous fruit, savory aromas and polished tannins.