Climate change may play a role in the emergence of CAF Livermore Grape Destiny.

Livermore, CA, 9. March 2021– Stephen Kent Mirassu, CEO and head winemaker of The Lineage Collection, is proud to introduce the newest brand in the collection: The other cat. In French, it represents the other end of the Bordeaux grape spectrum, adding Cabernet Franc to the Cabernet Sauvignon established by the Stephen Kent wine and lineage labels.

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.

Mirassu currently sources Cabernet Franc (CAF) from two vineyards in Livermore and has previously bottled it under the Steven Kent Winery and Spiritual Collection brands. Last year, in 2017, the lineup of wines he considers the best vintage to date received 100 points from respected wine writer Steve Heimoff.

The L’Autre Côte brand is produced in 2017 with two Cabernet Franc designated vineyards: the Ghielmetti vineyard, which Mirassoux helped develop and is now owned and managed by the Corbett family, and the Sachau vineyard, which is planted and managed by the Vente family. The wines will be offered in a selective shipment of two-packs of wines and scoops, with a maximum allocation of 12 bottles for each member.

These wines are quite limited because no cabernet franc has been planted in these two places and the demand from local winegrowers is very high. There are only 3.5 acres of Cabernet Franc in Guilmette, and only 6 acres in Sahau.

Mirassu believes that their unique qualities make them irresistible next to each other, which is why they are sold as a set.

The Gielmetti vineyard tends to produce a Cabernet Franc with black fruit notes and a good amount of the herbaceous qualities I associate with this grape, notes Mirassu. The Sachau vineyard has more tannin structure than the Gilmetti, darker fruit, fewer pyrazine nuances, and fewer non-ephemeral and ephemeral elements than the Gilmetti. In general, Guilmette is closer to the presentation of the grapes in the Loire Valley, while Sachau leans more towards the right bank of Bordeaux.

Cabernet Franc is not only an attractive grape for Mirassu, but there is also a practical reason for drawing attention to this variety. As the world’s seasons are increasingly affected by global warming, winemaking practices must be adjusted accordingly.

Climate change is bringing cooler air into the Livermore Valley earlier each day, shortening the growing season and requiring more growing days per season to reach optimum 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.

Livermore’s lack of grapes means more need to be planted to make the next Livermore grape. Mirassu has identified at least one other area that could be ideal for Cabernet Franc.

The former Raboli vineyard, now lying fallow, would be an ideal place to grow more Cabernet Franc, as the soil is very rocky and well drained. I expect more Cabernet Franc to be planted in the Gilmetti vineyard in time, as new blocks are also guaranteed.


Wine lovers are invited to a virtual roundtable discussion on Cabernet Franc on March 25 at 10:00 a.m. PT: Aesthetic intelligence. Members of the Commission : Stephen Kent Mirassou of L’Autre Côte, John Skupny of Lang & Reed Napa Valley and Mathieu Baudry of Domaine Bernard Baudry will share their stories, their trade secrets and their unbridled passion for all things CAF. Topics include history, agriculture, winemaking and the hedonistic enjoyment of the world’s most seductive, invigorating, elegant and sexy grapes…. CAF.

To register for the round table Cabernet French, please visit CAFMAR25ZOOM

To get on the waiting list for the first release of L’Autre Côte wine, go to :


You May Also Like

Champagne Shipped Nearly 21 Million Bottles to U.S. in 2020

View The economic impact of the COWID-19 pandemic resulted in an 18.8%…

The 2021 International Winemakers Summit Honors the Contributions of Diverse Winemakers Around the World

View A 3-day event organized by Marcia Jones of Urban Connoisseurs in…

California Crushes Lowest Total Tonnage in a Decade, Grape Prices also Down

A preliminary report on California’s 2020 grape harvest, released by the National…

Intent and Purpose

View Rodney Strict Vineyards impressed the judges with an NCWC rosé that…