Pillitteri Estates 2012 Cabernet Franc Riserva Famiglia – AMAZING!

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Sorry to start off an article with the word amazing, but it is only appropriate for this wine. Having been a collector of Cabernet Franc for 30+ years I am fairly discrete about those Cabernet Franc’s which I enjoy. Most of which have been premier high end Napa Valley Cabernet Franc like Trespass, Crocker & Starr, Detert, Barnett Vineyards, Viader, etc. When it was mentioned to me by Sam Jonas from Toronto, Canada that Pillitteri Estates made the best Cabernet Franc in the world I was obviously extremely skeptical. I have visited and tasted wines from Niagara on the Lake area in the past.  In fact, I simply ignored the claim. Finally after months of persistence, I had this bottle of 2012 Pillitteri Estates Cabernet Franc. All I can state, is that my “Napa centric” world view finally failed me! This wine was breathe taking and awesome. My own “world wine view” caused me months of not enjoying such a remarkable wine. It now rates in my top 10 of all Cabernet Franc’s consumed regardless of price! That is a bold claim for the wines I have had the pleasure to enjoy.

I have never met the folks who make this wine, but research shows a beloved history on their pride in making this exquisite wine. They make this reserve wine in a traditional appassimento style as done by Gary’s ancestors in Italy. Grapes are hand harvested and allowed to air dry naturally in racks. This removes 15-20% of the grapes moisture which enhanced flavors and aromas. In 20 years making this wine, only 6 vintages have been deemed Reserve.

This wine had spot on appropriateness of sweet tobacco, cherry, plum and black licorice on the nose. On the palate it possessed heavenly tastes comprises a symphony of vanilla, mocha, raspberry and green bell peppers. The oak and tannins were silky with no residual sharpness. Simply a perfect “10” on my scale.


We paired this wine with a seared and Bbq’ed Tri-tip steak, twice baked potatoes and asparagus with fresh bacon. A perfect compliment for this wine.

At $78 a price point so much lower than some of the tradition Napa Valley prized Cabernet Franc’s, you should really try this wine quickly. I know this just made my list of the best wines tasted in 2019 and will be on my end of year recommendations. Now the hard part, getting more wine from Ontario, Canada to California to stock my cellar!!! Thanks Sam Jonas for pushing me.





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