Livermore, CA, 18. March 2021– Lovers of cabernet franc are invited to participate in a retrospective of this international grape variety known worldwide for its alluring and aromatic expressions. The round table with the title Cabernet Franc : Aesthetic exploration will unite these winemakers: Stephen Kent Mirassou of L’Autre Côte (Livermore Valley), John Skupny of Lang & Reed (Napa Valley), and Mathieu Baudry of Domaine Bernard Baudry (Chinon) will share their stories, their winemaking secrets, and their passion for Cabernet Franc (CAF). Topics include history, agriculture, winemaking and the hedonistic taste of the world’s most invigorating, elegant and sexy grapes.
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There are many styles to celebrate, including the bright, often effervescent wines of Chinon in France’s Loire Valley and the decidedly pine-laden wines of Virginia and other East Coast states, big, spicy herb beauties from Washington, deeply fruity, bold flavors from Napa, and sweet, fragrant samples, often of rose petals and lavender, from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Sierra Foothills and Livermore. With its propensity for intense olfactory tingle, followed by a mix of red fruits, herbs and spices, and a TV-like electric freshness, this early Bordeaux grape is often considered a versatile table wine, much more floral and aromatic than Cabernet Sauvignon, whose profile is bolder and dominated by tannins. It is known to ripen earlier than Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which require more heat units, allowing it to thrive in cooler climates.
The Livermore Valley has a long and illustrious history of growing world-class Bordeaux varieties, says sixth-generation winemaker Stephen Kent Mirasu. The constant and prevailing winds of the San Francisco Bay that blow through our growing area daily are one of the fundamental conditions for growing world-class fruit. I have been interested in cabernet franc since 2005 and find it so seductive, full of elegance and complexity, that even after a lifetime of drinking it never reveals all its secrets and charms.
Cabernet Franc is a particularly attractive grape variety for Mirassoux, which recently announced a new brand, L’Autre Côte, dedicated to Cabernet Franc. As wars intensify and climate change causes devastating heat waves and deadly fires, the wine world has had to adjust its vision of grape growing. While other parts of California continue to grow Cabernet Sauvignon despite increasing heat waves, Livermore does not. This is where the CAF could be Darwinian.
Climate change is bringing cooler air into the Livermore Valley earlier each day, shortening growing days and requiring more growing days per season to reach optimal ripeness for varieties like cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Since Cabernet Franc ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, we may not be able to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon sufficiently before the winter rains, but at the same time have ideal conditions for Cabernet Franc to ripen, notes Mirassu.
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