Paradigm Cabernet Franc 2014
Ren & Marilyn Harris have been growing grapes in Napa Valley for decades – in fact, the 2018 vintage marked Ren’s 55th harvest. They purchased their own vineyard in Oakville in 1975, and began selling grapes to neighboring wineries until making the first vintage of Paradigm in 1991. Heidi Barrett made the inaugural vintage and has been the Winemaker ever since.
Most of the 50 acre vineyard is now dedicated to making Paradigm’s own wines, but they still sell part of their crop to two neighboring wineries in the Oakville AVA. Paradigm specializes in Bordeaux varieties, with bottlings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Stylistically, their wines are classic, elegant and well-balanced.
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, and Ren is a sixth generation Californian whose predecessors settled San Diego in 1769. His great, great, grand-uncle was General Mariano Vallejo; the last Mexican governor of California. Ren & Marilyn still run the day-to-day operations at the winery, and their daughter and grandchildren live on the property.
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, resulting in year after year of favorable vintages. Summer days see a gentle tug of war between warmer inland air and the cool air coming in from the San Pablo Bay, creating an ideal environment to grow red varieties. Oakville's diverse soils, namely ancient sea bedrock, clay and gravel, are well-drained, and perfect for high-caliber viticulture.
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 a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. While both are important grapes in modern day, high quality Bordeaux, interestingly, Cabernet Franc most likely originated from the Basque region of France sometime during the middle 1600’s. Today Cabernet Franc produces outstanding single varietal wines across the wine producing world, with some of its most classic examples from France’s Loire Valley, in the regions of Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc performs quite well in parts of California, New York and Virginia. It is also a great blending grape.
In the Glass
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.
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.