Those familiar with Detert Family Vineyards know that Detert is an established winery. W.F. Detert came to the US in 1866. He operated a gold mine in Jackson, sold it and in 1912 he owned 22,000 acres in Guenoc Ranch in Lake County as well as other ranches/gold mines in Amador Placer and El Dorado Counties. W.F. died in 1929 and it was managed by his son Richard Detert who died in 1951. Tom Garrett, one of the current owners, great-grandmother, Hedwig Detert, sold the Guenoc Ranch and purchased 50 acres of the To Kalon Vineyard from Martin Stelling estate in Oakville in 1954.That is when the Detert Vineyard was named. Today it is known as one of the most prestigious vineyards in all of Napa Valley. In 1966 Detert Vineyards started selling their grapes to Robert Mondavi. For many years Robert used Detert Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc for blending. Today the owners of Detert are all great grandsons of Hedwig Detert: Tom Garrett, John Garrett and Bill Cover. Their first commercial wines were Cabernet Franc (2000) and Cabernet Sauvignon (2002).
Tom Garret hosted me many years back and with his experience at Turley, Joseph Phelps, Robert Mondavi, and under Heidi Peterson Barrett as her assistant winemaker for Revana, he has “it down pat”. For five years in a row their Cabernet Franc made the “Best of the Year” on my favorite wines tasted during the year.
This wine came up on my “To Drink Now in 2022” list with 10 years of aging. When looking at the Detert Family Vineyards logo one might expect a “gnarly, rough and tumble” wine. Nothing could be further from the truth as their Cabernet Franc is smooth, a full mouth lingering pleasant concoction of chocolate, and numerous layers of berries and tobacco. On the eyes is a deep crimson color with purple hue around the edges. On the nose, aromas of violets, black cherries fill the senses. On the palate, the predominant flavors of dark chocolate, plum and soft vanilla pipe tobacco provide an exhilarating taste. A secondary flavor of anise and minerality are also present. The finish as mouth filling and broad as is it being long lasting and constantly beckoning yet another sip. Only 165 cases were produced. The current release is the 2018 and cost is $95.
The winery is truly historical and the wine a real pedigree for understanding the wonders of Cabernet Franc.