Leah Jorgensen Southern Oregon Cabernet Franc 2017
This wine expresses fresh, bright, vibrant aromatics lifting and floating above the glass, brimming with intense floral notes, perfume, and sweet fruit. This wine was like a bouquet of flowers saved from a precious occasion, hung carefully upside to dry and preserve the natural oils - rose petals, hibiscus, violets, carnations. It reminds the winemaker of a delicate floral fragrance she wore as a young woman - "Petite Cherie" by Annick Goutal - not for the individual scents of pear, peach, musky rose, freshly cut grass, and vanilla (those descriptors really sound more like a portrait of white wine, anyway), but, for the sum of its parts, the alchemy of these scents that, when coalesced, create something that smells nothing like the individual oils, but, something of a magical emanation created by some ethereal woodland fairy queen. Then, another swirl of the glass sparked cinnamon bark, cigar, sweet birch bark, the distinctive spicy-citrus aroma of black walnut leaves, brambles, and ripe cherries.
In 2004, Leah made her way out west to her father’s home state of Oregon. "Dad grew up on a small family farm just outside of Eugene. It seemed natural to return to my Oregon roots."
Jorgensen started out working in national sales, marketing, and communication for pioneering wineries in the Pacific Northwest, first at Erath Vineyards, and through its sale to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, as well as at Adelsheim Vineyard. She began offering marketing consulting for a handful of wineries, including WillaKenzie Estate, Raptor Ridge, Le Cadeau, and R. Stuart & Co., while studying enology for two years at the Northwest Viticulture Center in Salem. She worked harvests at Anne Amie Vineyards and Alloro Vineyard, completed two years of cellar work at Shea Wine Cellars, while making plans for her own wine – debuting the 2011 vintage with an unusual choice – just a barrel’s worth of her now signature, limited Blanc de Cabernet Franc.
Her Blanc is the first commercial still white Cabernet Franc in the world, inspired by some of the Cremant de Loire bubbly made in blanc de noir style from Cabernet Franc juice without skin contact. The Blanc de Cabernet Franc has landed on the lists of top restaurants and has been the perfect introduction to her Cabernet Franc program.
Home to some of America’s most celebrated Pinot Noir, Oregon maintains a tight focus on small production, high quality wine even while the state’s industry enjoys steady growth. As a world-renowned wine region, Oregon has more than 700 wineries and is home to well over 70 grape varieties. With a mostly Mediterranean climate, its cooler and wetter regions lie in the west, close to the Pacific Coast.
By far the most reputed region is the Willamette Valley, which is further subdivided into six smaller appellations: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge and Yamhill-Carlton.
The Valley’s obvious success story is with Pinot Noir, which here takes on a personality that could be described in general terms as somewhere in between the wines of California and Burgundy—and is often more affordable than either one. The best Willamette Pinot noir has a rare combination of red and black fruit, elegant balance, high acidity and rustic earth. While completely enjoyable in their youth, some of the better, single vineyard or appellation-specific Pinot noirs can often benefit from some cellar time.
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.