Cabernet Franc

Wine Review | Amizetta Estate Family Winery

Amizetta Estate 2010 “Complexity”  Napa Valley

I have been drinking a lot of California Cabernets lately, and starting on New Year’s Eve, I started a little sidetrack into the wines of France, Margaux in particular.  Well this couldn’t have been better timing for a sample of Amizetta Complexity to arrive.

napa wine

Amizetta Complexity

Complexity’s blend is a “Bordeaux style”, and while it is not very similar to the wines of Bordeaux, it still represents a departure from the standard Napa Vally fare.  Speaking of the blend, the wine consists of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc.

A little back story on the vineyard and winery:

napa wineryThe vineyard was founded in 1979 and located on the southern end of Howell Mountain (although not actually in the Howell Mountain AVA) the hillside vineyard sits at about 1,000 ft elevation.  While perusing the Amizetta website I found some interesting information on hillside, or hill slope vineyards in Napa.  In an effort to preserve mountain views, it has become extremely difficult to develop any new hillside vineyards.  As such, the 40 acre Amizetta vineyard has become somewhat coveted, because of its size, elevation and that it faces south.

The winery was built in the middle of the vineyard in 1985, and Amizetta enlisted the help of a Mr. Justin Meyers.  Justin is the founder and wine-maker at Silver Oak.  The idea behind the winery was to make a “wine makers winery”.

Which brings us back to the 2010 Complexity.  The fruit for this wine is estate grown, the wine was aged in French oak for 18 months, and only 1,250 cases were made.  The wine retails for $45 a bottle

napa vineyardI decanted for 30 minutes prior to tasting.  My first sip was extraordinarily rich and ripe, extracted, concentrated and jammy.  However, it was only like this on the first few sips.  With a few more minutes in the glass, and with my palate adjusting, the wine calmed down and the complexity started to shine through.  The first thing to stand out were the tannins.  The wine is remarkably mature for a 2010, yet the tannins are unmistakable, they are almost dust like in their texture.  Fine, granular.  The nose is nice, thanks to a hint of Cabernet Franc.  As the wine opened up the elements of earth and tobacco mentioned in the winery’s tasting notes began to appear.  At $45 a bottle this is a decent value for a relatively rare wine, and it should cellar well over the next 5-10 or more years.  Luckily the winery shipped me 2 bottles, and if I am able to exercise any restraint I might be able to re-sample this wine in the future and see how its coming along!

Weekly Wine Journal rating: 93 points

Lizbeth Congiusti, aka The Sassy Somellier, tastes some Arizona Wine

I first met Lizbeth Congiusti over a year ago at a Cameron Hughes Wine tasting event. I found her to be extremely knowledgable and friendly. We arranged to meet at the Arizona Wine Grower’s tasting event. She tasted and talked about the wines, and I held the flipcam. Lizbeth is a level II Sommelier, and has published her own book: Sip Swirl Savor. For more info on Lizbeth click on the link below the video.

In this first video she talks with Rod Keeling of Keeling-Shaefer Vineyards, and tries out “His Best Wine!”

In the second video Lizbeth tastes Kief-Joshua Vineyards Cabernet Franc

Click here for Lizbeth Congiusti’s Website

Wine Review: Lang and Reed 2007, Cabernet Franc, North Coast California

Alcohol: 13.5%

Lang & Reed 2007 Cabernet Franc

Price: $22 online, $15-$20 retail. In Arizona it’s available at AZ Wine Company

100% Cabernet Franc

The nose:   Pretty floral notes, sweet almost marshmallow like…  it’s true!  Smell a freshly opened bag of marshmallows sometime…

The Palate: Slightly creamy texture, bright acidity, not a heavy long lasting acidity.  It’s more of a youthful acidity.  The fruit is a sweet and sour cherry. Sweet like a ripe dark cherry but quickly transitions into a tart unripe fruit center.  Like you are eating the center of the fruit.  Chewy Wooly tannins which make your mouth pucker up a bit, squeaky teeth tannins I like to say.

The Finish: Pleasant and light little touch of herbs.

Conclusion:  For the price ($15-$20) it is a very decent Cabernet Franc.  I’m not blown away to the point of buying several cases of it, but I think I will buy several more bottles and lay them down to see how it ages of the next year or two.  I paired this wine with a nice big New York Steak, and a twice baked potato with loads of melted extra sharp Tillamook cheddar on top.  And finished with a big piece of chocolate brownie cheesecake.  The wine went great with all three. And speaking of a nice big steak why not check out my super awesome steak recipe here

Lang and Reed Website Here


Titus Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2007

From their literature:  “…shimmering, intense ruby color.  The nose is alluring and complex with aromas of blueberry, violets, mocha, currant and oak spice.  Mouthfilling, well integrated, fine grain tannins give way to lush, juicy flavors of boysenberry and sweet cherry are wrapped in sweet tobacco leaf, dark cocoa and black tea.  The finish is everlasting with sweet oak spice, red fruits, toffee, and anise…”

This was my favorite by far of all the Titus wines I tasted that night.  The nose was undeniable, but not overpowering.   As far as their description goes, it is actually bang on!  Wow how about that?  Especially that long finish.  I was sad that my sample gone.  I desperately wanted more.  It was about 7pm, I still wanted to talk with Eric E. Titus a little bit, but what I really wanted to do was get my hands on a whole case of this wine and start drinking it immediately And not share it with anyone, hoard it to my self and take the rest of the week off work and drink it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  456 cases produced, $36 retail.  That is a little out of my price range for a thrice daily drinker        (I know call me cheap)  but I do “splurge” from time to time and buy Chimney Rock or Dead Arm, and now I will add Titus Cabernet Franc to the list.  Not the “Huge Big To Do List”,  but the “Wines to Aquire” list.  Actually, speaking of Chimney Rock,  I thought that this wine had quite a similar flavor profile to the 2005 Chimney Rock Stag’s Leap Cabernet, which I just had last weekend.