4th Annual Cabernet from the Americas Tasting - San Francisco

Tim Marson MW

The Fourth Annual American Cabernet tasting took place in San Francisco on Monday October 30th. This year, for the first time, the event included Cabernet Franc as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, and encompassed wines from the length of the Americas, from Canada and Washington State to Chile and Argentina.

The afternoon began with a seated tasting of wines presented by a panel of highly illustrious Californian winemakers moderated by Mary Margaret McCamic MW. More than sixty attendees were led through nine hand-picked selections by Matt Dees (Jonata), Delia Viader (Viader), Andy Erickson (Favia), and Philippe Melka (Melka). Vintages offered ranged from 2008 to 2015 and compared Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon wines with several examples of blends of the two. The lively and enlightening discussion covered such topics as: clones; viticultural challenges; use of whole clusters; co-fermentation; maceration times; and Cabernet Franc’s role in a blend. The panelists’ passion for the “other” Cabernet – in a region where Cabernet (Sauvignon) is resolutely king - shone through, and was evinced by the wines themselves. Tasters left with a clear impression of how Cabernet Franc can provide enchanting aromatics, freshness, lift, and finesse to the tannins, when grown in the right areas to appropriate clones and husbanded correctly.

The walk-around tasting which followed presented no fewer than 95 selections of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wines (as both varietal expressions and blends) from regions ordered as follows: Niagara Peninsula; Columbia Valley (including Red Mountain and Walla Walla); Paso Robles; Santa Cruz Mountains; Napa Valley (with almost all of its sub-AVAs represented); Sonoma County (including Alexander Valley, Knights Valley, and Sonoma Mountain); Sierra Foothills; Finger Lakes; Virginia; Chile (including Colchagua and Maipo Valley); Argentina (featuring several of Mendoza’s sub-regions).

More than one hundred attendees were able to compare and contrast wines from multiple geographies and terroirs with famous labels alongside newer discoveries. Highlights for this taster included: 2013 Tawse Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc (Niagara); 2014 Mount Eden Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Cruz); 2014 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Cruz); 2014 Antica Cabernet Sauvignon (Atlas Peak, Napa); 2014 Lang & Reed Two-Fourteen Cabernet Franc (Napa); 2014 Volker Eisele Family Cabernet Sauvignon (Chiles Valley, Napa); 2014 Lokoya Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa); 2014 Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Helena, Napa); 2014 Madrona Vineyards Signature Collection Cabernet Franc (Sierra Foothills); 2014 RdV Vineyards Lost Mountain Red (Middleburg, Virginia); 2012 VIK Red (Millahue, Chile); 2014 Le Dix de Los Vascos (Colchagua Valley, Chile).

Most significantly, the IMW(NA) decided to donate 100% of the value of ticket sales from this event to support victims of the horrific wildfires in Napa, Sonoma, and surrounding communities. We are delighted to have raised just over $10,000 which will be shared equally between the Napa Valley Community Foundation and the Sonoma County Resilience Fund.

Tim Marson MW, Chair – Events Committee IMW(NA)
30 October 2017