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Paradigm Cabernet Franc 2012
Blend: 76% Cabernet Franc, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot
About thirty percent of the grape production at Paradigm is used by the winery and the balance is sold to other premium Napa Valley wineries. It is the intention of the Harris’ to remain at the current five thousand case annual production in order to maintain the close personal contact they enjoy with both the Paradigm crew and the Paradigm wine drinkers they have befriended over the years.
Marilyn is a third generation Napa Valley grape grower whose grandparents came to Napa Valley from the hills of Northern Italy to grow grapes in 1890. Marilyn is assisted by Ren & Marilyn’s daughter Jennifer Harris and together they run the day-to-day business at Paradigm.
Ren Harris is a sixth generation Californian whose predecessors settled San Diego in 1769 and whose great great grand uncle was General Mariano Vallejo; the last Mexican governor of California. Paradigm is located on land General Vallejo gave to George Yount in 1835. Yount in turn planted the first grapes in Napa Valley. Ren is in charge of wine and grape production.
Home to some of the most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon in America, Napa Valley’s Oakville district stretches across the center of Napa's valley floor and foothills between the Vaca and Mayacamas Mountains. This AVA is home to the legendary To Kalon Vineyard and Martha's Vineyard, as well as many powerhouse wineries including Screaming Eagle, Silver Oak, Robert Mondavi, Opus One, Far Niente and Groth.
The climate is generally warm and agreeable. Summer days see a gentle tug of war between warmer inland air and the cool air coming in from the San Pablo Bay. The diverse soils, namely ancient sea bedrock, clay and gravel, are well-drained, resulting in year after year of favorable vintages.
Cabernet here is often bottled varietally but is also popular in Bordeaux blends. Oakville wines are known for their silky, sensual textures, structured tannins, dark and brooding fruit and lovely aromatics. These age-worthy and prestigious wines are favored by collectors throughout the world.
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.