It is not often that one sets out to turn the world upside down, but that is exactly what Steven Kent Mirassou is attempting with his newest label call L’Autre Côte meaning the “other coast”. The goal is to make world acclaimed Cabernet Franc wines from two of Livermore’s well known vineyards.
So Why Livermore?
Livermore has always had a rich and historical influence for wine making in California. Today, Steven believes, with the climate changes, that Napa and Sonoma will become less suitable for the production of several of the Bordeaux varieties. Key for the weather is the wind that comes off the ocean thru the bay and over the low Hayward hills being pulled in from the rising heat of the Central Valley. This occurs almost daily. The wind continues to build up earlier each subsequent year. This climatic change will allow Livermore to “own” the Cabernet Franc market as other others will continue to become too warm to sustain and produce a higher quality grape.
L’Autre Côte Wines
Thus L’Autre Côte was born! Steven is introducing his inaugural release of L’Autre Côte. Anyone who has followed Steven Kent Winery or Lineage Wines, has heard Steven sing the praises of Cabernet Franc for years. With this new label, Steven in his own words is now able to highlight “the virtuosity of Cabernet Franc, and its wide range of complexity and deliciousness across a few carefully-chosen vineyards”.
The first release is actual a two bottle set: one from Ghielmetti Vineyard and one from Sachau Vineyard. Both are exceptional and showcase the “terroir” differently from each other.
Ghielmetti Vineyard has been a mainstay in Steven Kent’s arsenal since harvesting fruit for Cabernet Franc in 2005. There is a lone block of 3.7 acres planted to Cabernet Franc Bordeaux Clone 332. The wine has a bit brighter reddish/purple than Sachau Vineyard with more fruit forward flavors. It possess smooth clean round tannins with raspberry and blackberry fruits. The pyrazines are subdued which allows a light, “tinge of sweetness”. Chocolate, jasmine tea and minerality are lingering in the shadows of this wine in each sip. The finish is mid lasting and provides a silky landing.
Sachau Vineyard is a six acre site and is planted in UCD clone 5 as opposed to Ghielmetti Vineyard which is planted in clone 332. This vineyard is located about 600 foot elevation and is on well-draining loamy soils. A much darker wine than the Ghielmetti version. This wine initially out of the bottle seems “hot” (high in alcohol percentage and not integrated) and with sharp edges of tannins. However once left open to breathe, a whole new characterization took place. Everything seemed to gel with the tannins settling into place with definition but without angular barbs, but smooth and delicious. Raspberry was the overall predominant aroma and taste with this wine with black fruits following. Many of us felt this was better suited to go with food. A suggestion with this wine in particular is let it decant 1 hour before tasting. The pyrazines were savory but not heavy handed. A very rich and desirable Cabernet Franc to be enjoyed. Turned out this was the “crowd pleaser” over the Ghielmetti Vineyard version by a “nose”.
The tale of two vineyards was tasted with two other couples, all of whom belong to the local Wine Society and one is a Professional Judge (and winemaker). These two wines, albeit not an everyday Cabernet Franc, are surely worthy of your cellar and enjoyment.