The mistaken identity was not by Steven Kent Winery but by me! I am a BIG, BIG fan of Steven Mirassou wines (Lineage, Steven Kent Winery, Mia Nipote and Ragbag Works) for almost twenty years. Fortunately I have had many of his varietals which occupy my cellar still today. One which I had been historically slow to pull the trigger on, was his Cabernet Franc. I had remembered it being a “lighter Cabernet Franc” both in texture, color and flavor. The other night, we opened his 2016 Cabernet Franc and I was pleasantly surprised and astonished by the aroma, complexity and finish of this wine. I should have been trying this wine each release!
His 2016 Cabernet Franc is a part of his Small Lot offering made of 100% Cabernet Franc. He sources the grapes from Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard 67% and Sachau Vineyard 33%. It is 100% Cabernet Franc. It is aged in hand selected 20% new French oak barrels for 18-20 months. Steven, ever the perfectionist, proposed to mitigate the “oak influence” so that the herbal (green bell pepper, pyrazines) could be juggled with the fruit characteristics. Combining two vineyards, he was able to also extract different fruit and levels of acidity, to blend to a desirable level. A lot of thought and effort went into this vintage. On the eyes, a purple and red brick hue with a vivid clarity. On the nose, blackberry, blueberry, fig and prunes were present along with floral notes of violets. In the palate, the key herbal quality of bell pepper were interlaced with the sweetness of vanilla and caramel. Additionally, minerality and soft leather came through in the finish. The winery retails it for $48.
I now will be gathering a few bottles of this 2016 for the cellar. Additionally, I will not make the same mistake twice and will be tasting each subsequent release of Steven Kent’s Cabernet Franc.