At the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held in December 2020, Rosa Fierro Cellars 2016 Cabernet Franc earning a Gold Medal People’s Choice Judges and a Silver Medal from the Professional Judges. For Rosa Fierro Cellars this was an excellent showing as it was her first Cabernet Franc produced. This was a blind competition with two sets of judges in different areas. This wine was in Category 2 (priced at $31 to $50) from around the United States with it priced at $40. For more on the wine competition sponsored by California Wines and Wineries see:
Rosa Fierro Cellars
Rosa Fierro opened Rosa Fierro Cellars in 2014 and recently left her full time job and career as a legal assistant to concentrate 100% on the winery. “Rosie” as she is called, had worked in tasting rooms, made port in her garage and eventually worked with many of Livermore’s better winemakers at a production facility in Livermore. The winery is 100% woman owned and operated with women staff. Rosie specializes in hand crafted, limited production wines. Her wines come from both Livermore and Napa Valleys. One of the key points of making wine was instilled in her to work in the vineyards to select the best grapes. Each varietal is limited to 50-200 cases each. Those wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay (both oaked and unoaked versions), Merlot, a Rosé (from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes), Zinfandel, Primitivo, a Red Blend and her latest being the Cabernet Franc. Her total production is approximately 1,000 cases. She has won many awards in a relatively short time. The tasting room is located at 2245 South Vasco Road, Livermore. The backgrounds on her and her staff on the website are especially creatively done! Rosie’s other passion is photography and her pictures adorn each unique label.
2016 Rosa Fierro Cellar Cabernet Franc
She calls her Cabernet Franc “Big Daddy”. When asked how that came about her response was “my friends and I have always referred to the varietal of Cabernet Franc as the ‘Big Daddy’ of varietals because of its masculine characteristics….”. While not wanting to create any “sexism or controversy”, I have often mentioned Cabernet Franc as being feminine, with its silky smooth finish and being the “seductress of wine” luring one into the far reaches of the wine world. I will leave that up to your determination.
Rosie’s 100% Cabernet Franc grapes come from the White Cat Vineyard on Crane Ridge in Livermore. The wine on the eyes is very dark red with purple hues. On the nose blueberry aromas abounds predominantly. Once into the mouth, the blueberry takes a back seat to raspberry and anise with just a slight hint of tobacco and vanilla to counterbalance it. The finish is definitely “feminine” with silky smooth tannins that slide down the back of your throat. While smooth, the structure of the wine came through. I had tasted the wine before release and now after just a month or two in the bottle, I truly was impressed with the morphing of its enhanced quality. She made only 50 cases with her wine club getting it first. As of this writing, some wine is still available.
The Wine Pairing
The wine was chosen to go with a homemade Salsa di Pomodoro. The salsa was prepared using fresh plum tomatoes, Italian tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, chopped onion, finely shredded carrots, crushed hot red pepper, chopped celery and bay leaves. Needed was a strong Cabernet Franc to embrace the acidity in the tomatoes. A grilled chicken, then was baked with the salsa and parmesan cheese added on top! The salsa was also used for the Bucatini pasta and accompanied with a fresh garden salad with Blue cheese dressing.
So no matter how you think of Cabernet Franc, feminine or masculine, Rosie’s Big Daddy 2016 Cabernet Franc is on target with full flavor and an excellent representation of Cabernet Franc.