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Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc 2002

Cabernet Franc from Napa Valley, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    A powerful and intense wine with a terrific sense of balance. The aromatic invitation has shades of sage, earth and cedar although clearly driven by dark currant and black cherry. A very concentrated mid-palate focuses on blueberry, plum and black fruit. The rich and round finish includes sweet leather, cedar and fresh spice notes wrapped up with a hint of creamy oak.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Ehlers Estate

    Ehlers Estate

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    Ehlers Estate, Napa Valley, California
    In 1886, Bernard Ehlers completed planting the vineyards and constructed the stone winery building, which remains today as the focal point of the Estate. When Ehlers passed away in 1901, he left the Estate to his wife Anna, who maintained the property for the next 15 years. In 1923, local resident Alfred Domingos purchased the land from Anna Ehlers. Since home winemaking was legal, Domingos and his brother "bootlegged" wine and brandy to a growing stream of Bay Area visitors. In fact, so many tourists came to Napa Valley to obtain illegal alcohol that the Carquinez Bridge was erected to facilitate transportation.

    The early 1970s brought a revived interest in California wines, and the Estate became home to a number of small new wineries including Conn Creek Winery, Saintsbury, and Stratford Winery. In 1982, Parisians Jean and Sylviane Leducq established the Prince Michel Vineyards and Winery in Virginia. Their goal was to marry their Gallic passion for fine wine and food with American history. Under the direction of French enologist Jacques Boissenot, in 1987, the Leducqs purchased 7 acres of vineyard that were part of the original land tract belonging to W.W. Lyman.

    In May 2001, the original stone winery and estate home built by Bernard Ehlers was purchased, thus reuniting the Estate. The stewardship of Ehlers Estate is now in the hands of the Leducq Foundation.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    Cabernet Franc

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    The subtler and more delicate of the Cabernets, Cabernet Franc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon and shares many of the structural elements of Bordeaux’s cornerstone variety. In Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc is often planted as an insurance policy against its later-ripening offspring, as it is more likely to thrive in a difficult harvest. But don’t mistake Cabernet Franc for merely a supporting player—this grape variety produces outstanding wines on its own or as the dominant component of a blend. It produces perhaps its most alluring wines in France’s Loire Valley, in the regions of Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur-Champigny, where brighter, riper wines can be achieved. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc has performed quite well in parts of California, New York, and Virginia.

    In the Glass

    Paler, lighter, crisper, softer, and much more aromatic than its progeny, Cabernet Franc typically tastes of red raspberries, cherries, and herbs, with a stunning perfume of violets, tobacco, and spice.

    Perfect Pairings

    Mouthwatering acidity makes Cabernet Franc an incredibly food-friendly wine, helping to cut through the richness of fatty meat dishes. It especially shines in tandem with lamb, and its affinity for the spice cabinet allows it to pair perfectly with Chinese dishes prepared with Szechuan pepper and five-spice.

    Sommelier Secrets

    Under-ripe Cabernet Franc can be leafy and green with harsh tannins and mouth-searing acidity, so it is best to avoid highly spiced curries and fiery chili dishes.

    EPCEEECFC_2002 Item# 84638