At the National Cabernet Franc Wine Competition held December 2nd, 2020, Ciccone Vineyard and Winery earned a Silver Medal Award from the Professional Judges. This was for their 2017 Cabernet Franc. This was their first year participating and expect even higher awards in their future! You can read more about the event at:
The winery is located on the Leelanau Peninsula in the upper portion of Michigan (#2) on the map.
(Picture from Michigan Wine Country)
Tony and Joan Ciccone are the co-owners and founders of the winery. After a career in Detroit, Tony in his previous homes always had a few rows of grapes in his yard and made wine by hand. He had the notion to build a winery after he retired. The land was purchased in 1995 and the following year, Tony planted 5 acres in Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Gewürztraminer. Today, his son Mario and daughter Paula are now tending the vineyard and making the wines respectively. Today besides the original varietals, they also offer Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Pinot Blanc and various blends.
The 2017 Ciccone Cabernet Franc
As mentioned earlier, this was one of the original varietals planted in 1996 and is considered one of their signature wines. On the eyes and enticing but a bit lighter than some Cabernet Francs. On nose, dark berry fruits of blackberry and cherries arouse the senses. On the palate, mild oak and black peppercorns make this a mild but still “spicy” Cabernet Franc. The finish is medium long and can be consumed with or without food as it is very enjoyable. The price on their web shows the wine going for $27.
The Food and Wine Pairing
The meal was a Carne Asada dish. It was seasoned for 36 hours, seared briefly and then BBQ’ed for a few minutes. The Carne Asada was a recipe from Damn Delicious (with a couple of modifications) and included in the marinate: fresh chopped cilantro leaves, olive oil, reduced sodium soy sauce, juice from one orange and one lime, minced garlic cloves, 2 minced jalapeno’s (one with seeds and one without seeds), cumin, Kosher salt, ground black pepper and a flank steak. It was then drizzled with lime juice before being plated. Accompanied the dinner was a Spanish rice with chopped tomatoes and chili peppers along with some baby asparagus.
Perhaps one of the best meals of the year. Unfortunately the citrus characteristics took the wine to a different dimension. So we stopped drinking the wine with the meal. Had some bread to neutralize the palate and the wine was delightful after the evening meal. The individual wine and meal were excellent, but together they were non-compatible.