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Michael David Winery Inkblot Cabernet Franc 2014
Pair with any kind of mushrooms, olives or red sauce pasta.
“Michael” and “David” are Michael and David Phillips, brothers whose family has farmed fruits and vegetables in the Lodi region since the 1850s and cultivated wine grapes for nearly a century. Michael and David constitute the 5th generation of grape growers in the Phillips family, with the 6th generation now joining the family business.
The Phillips family likes to emphasize the importance of quality wines with unique and fun labels. Wine makers Adam Mettler, Derek DeVries and Jeff Farthing specialize in producing Lodi’s famous Old Vine Zinfandels, as well as Rhone varietals such as Ancient Vine Cinsault and Syrah for Michael David Winery.
Farming with future generations in mind, the Phillips have adopted some of the most progressive sustainable farming practices in the state. All 800 acres of the family’s vineyards are third party certified, and the state’s first per ton bonus was issued for contracted growers to follow in the family’s footsteps.
With a distinctly Mediterranean climate featuring warm days and cool nights, the Lodi AVA in California’s Central Valley provides growers with ideal conditions for grape-growing. As most of the rain falls in winter months while vines are dormant, the risk of disease and pest problems is low and irrigation can make up for the dry conditions during harvest.
By a wide margin, Zinfandel is the most successful and widely planted variety in Lodi. Often made from old vines, these wines are robust and fleshy with ripe, plummy fruit and represent excellent value at the lower end of the price spectrum. Over 100 other varieties are grown here, ranging from the classic (Merlot, Chardonnay) to the obscure and experimental (Portugal’s Touriga Nacional, France's Picqpoul).
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.
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.
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.