2014 Star Lane Cabernet Franc, Star Lane Vineyard
2014 continues the trend (since 2012) of limited moisture, marked by warm springs and moderate summers. While 2014’s ripening period was earlier and warmer than others - finishing maturity in August/September instead of September/October - grape quality developed evenly. In fact, the hang time from flowering to full maturity was no different than years past as everything started earlier. Limited moisture improves overall concentration and structure in wine. Across our entire portfolio we observe a precision and refinement to 2014 that presents itself as purity and reticence hinting a longevity.
Star Lane Cabernet Franc offers unique components of anise and cherry-flavored wet tobacco to pair with firm structure. Grapes sourced for this wine are perched within a saddle between two tall peaks at Star Lane Vineyard. Thirteen hundred feet above sea level and exposed to daily afternoon breezes, a dampening of diurnal temperature swings promote ripening and balance. To reign in firm tannins we fermented in small, open top fermenter, and limited new oak. While the higher elevation fruit brought red fruit and anise, we loved the fresh tobacco notes and structure supplied by a cooler, loamy part of the vineyard. Merlot (15% of the wine) was used to add some lush qualities to the mid-palate without taking over the wine (as Cabernet Sauvignon is at risk of doing).
What do we say? We love this wine. If the 2013 risked using too much Cabernet Sauvignon which may have initially veiled the varietal signposts of Cabernet Franc, Merlot was a great choice in 2014 to complement the anise, fennel, cherry, and dark fruit aromas inherent to Star Lane Cabernet Franc. We embrace the grip tannins provide on the finish of this varietal and to balance them thought hints of Merlot’s lush mid-palate would help. Over all this wine’s expression now is quite enjoyable but also points to greater development of interesting flavors and characters that will intermingle with a structure built for a long haul.