Steven Kent Winery has always come through with great wines. I am a BIG, BIG fan of Steven Mirassou wines (Lineage Collection, L’Autre Côte, Steven Kent Winery) for twenty years. Fortunately, and the good news, is that I have many of his varietals which still occupy my cellar 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 (more French style). Last night as the temperature was dipping to freezing, I opened his 2016 Cabernet Franc and I was once again pleasantly surprised and astonished by the aroma, complexity and finish of this wine.
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. On the palate, the key herbal qualities of bell pepper were interlaced with the sweetness of vanilla and caramel. Additionally, minerality and soft leather came through in the finish. The winery is “re-branding” the lineup and going forward his Cabernet Franc will be listed under the L’Autre Côte label. This wine is not the single vineyard series, but a combination of the two vineyards in 2018 and lists for $48/bottle.
I have L’Autre Côte, both the blend and his single vineyard series Cabernet Franc in the cellar. All of them are outstanding and worth consideration, especially if Cabernet Franc is on your radar!