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Franciscan Estate Magnificat 2014

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • TP96
  • JS91
14.5% ABV
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4.4 29 Ratings
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4.4 29 Ratings
14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Magnificat is one of the original Meritage blends in California, a wine Franciscan has proudly produced since 1985. Named for J.S. Bach's masterpiece, it is crafted to be as seamless and harmonious as its musical namesake. Starting with over 200 small lots of red wine, Magnificat is created to showcase our finest Bordeaux blend of the vintage. Carefully assessing each lot as it ages in barrel, we create the blend with repeated trials and blind tastings. Depending on how the varieties express in a given year, the composition will be different, always shaped to provide consistency of style. The wine is founded on Cabernet Sauvignon, but true to Meritage, uses other Bordeaux varietals to give roundness, structure, and rich complexity.

Critical Acclaim

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TP 96
Tasting Panel
The royal carmine hue makes this wine look all the more stately. First introduced in 1985, this Meritage blend continues to cast a spell and blends all five Bordeaux grape varieties. The mélange consists of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cab Franc from lots off the 240-acre Oakville Franciscan Estate vineyard. The wine spent 20 months in oak. The aromas triggered a mountain forest: sage, jasmine, truffle and cherry wood. I salute this particular vintage for its fleshy, satiny texture with a firm structure. Flavors are layered with cinnamon, lavender, blueberry-boysenberry and caramel-mocha coffee.
JS 91
James Suckling
A fruit-forward style but not one that's overdone with plenty of plum and currant character. Full body and a velvety finish. Blend of mostly cabernet with merlot, malbec, petit verdot and cabernet franc.
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Franciscan Estate

Franciscan Estate

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Franciscan Estate, Napa Valley, California
Video of winery
Franciscan is one of Napa Valley's most venerable wineries, reaching back more than three decades. Franciscan wines take their signature style - rich, vibrant flavors framed by supple tannins - from the ideal climate offered by Napa Valley's cool, southern half and from the time-honored tradition of small-lot winemaking, blending from hundreds of barrels to craft fine wines that fully express the classic Bordeaux varieties.

Franciscan was founded in 1972 by a group of lawyers and doctors from San Francisco who decided to try turning their passion for wine into a business. In 1985, Agustin Huneeus, a Chilean exile who had built Concha y Toro in his native country, took over the helm at Franciscan. Huneeus refocused the winery on using the superlative grapes growing in its own vineyards, rather than sourcing from outside.

Today, Franciscan's wines are crafted under the exacting eye of Janet Myers, who came to Franciscan in August 2003 as associate winemaker after working in the Margaret River region and Beaulieu Vineyard, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and Louis Martini. The winery remains committed to its tradition of small-lot winemaking, with small batches averaging just 150 to 1,500 cases. The image of a hand-operated wine press on Franciscan's logo and wine labels reflects this small lot approach to winemaking.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

SWS411482_2014 Item# 343401