At the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held in December 2020, Palazzo Wine Cabernet Franc Reserve 2016 was in an elite status earning a Gold Medal by both the Professional Judges and People’s Choice Judges. A great accomplishment with only six wines receiving Gold or Double Gold from both sets of judges. This was a blind competition with two sets of judges in different areas. They were in the Category 5 (priced at $100 and up) from around the United States. For more on the wine competition sponsored by California Wines and Wineries see: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2020/12/04/national-cabernet-franc-wine-competition-results-are-in-happy-cabernet-franc-day/
Palazzo Wine & Scott Palazzo
This was Scott Palazzo’s first entry into the National Cabernet Franc Competition. His background is both unique and fascinating how he ended up being a winemaker. Scott grew up in an Italian family which influenced both his understanding of wine as an everyday event as well as with food and celebrations. At age 19, Scott set out with his guitar on his back and ended up in Europe. There he ended up in Saint Émilion (on the Right Bank of Bordeaux’s Gironde River). This became his wine paramount experience shaping his palate for years to come and the foundation for Palazzo Wine some 20+ years later. In 2003, after establishing a career as a television director/producer (by the way a Grammy nominated for Music Video & Television Director/Producer), he began searching for a similar terroir that he enjoyed while living in Saint Émilion.
Key to his success was his charismatic and energetic personality! Scott combined his past experience with Old World Wine in the cellar with New World Fruit from lower Napa Valley rolling hills. Today his wines are featured by some of the wine world’s most famous restaurants. A small partial listing is French Laundry, Gary Danko, Michael Mina, Per, Daniel, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Spago, Bouchon, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Emeril’s, Valintino’s, etc. The full list of restaurants can be found on his website, suffice to say, in any major city, find a prestigious restaurant and you will find Palazzo Wine!
Today Scott’s portfolio of wines include his Master Blend Series, The Reserve Wine Series and perhaps a few others in the cellar.
The 2016 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Scott started making his Cabernet Franc exclusively for The French Laundry in Yountville. This catapulted his wine instantly to “cult status”. The 2014 is his current release Cabernet Franc. What Scott entered was his 2016 Cabernet Franc into the wine competition. First on the eyes, this is a very deep crimson red color with medium-heavy viscosity. What wafts into the nose is symphony of aromas from floral notes of crushed violets to red fruits like cherries and raspberries. Once entering the mouth all parts of the orchestrated flavors burst into a flavor profile similar to the 1812 Overture. Red and black cherries, subtle spices like pepper are counter balanced with hints of dark chocolate. On the finish only a hint of pyrazines, this wine is vibrant, yet silky smooth beckoning one to take another sip. Structure and defined but not jagged tannins are present. One of the smoothest finishes on a world class Cabernet Franc I have tasted. The current release is the 2014 with only 300 cases being produced and priced at $115.
The Food Pairing
This week since the weather hit 75 degrees the BBQ begged to be operational! Two aged ribeye steaks were seared and BBQ’ed to have with this extraordinary wine. Accompanied by Bucatini pasta prepared with garlic, purple onion and broccoli with a fresh garden salad and Blue cheese dressing. Each bite of the steak with the wine was spectacular beyond belief! Truly a memorable experience. This wine instantly made my list to be on my yearly publication “Best Wines of Year – 2021”.
Scott is referred to as being creative, energetic and fervent in his convictions. All these traits can be attested to in his wine. Enjoy!