2018 I. Brand & Family, Cabernet Franc, Bayly Ranch, Paicines, San Benito County.
The dark ruby/garnet 2018 I. Brand & Family Winery Bayly Ranch Cabernet Franc, crafted using traditional methods, was vinified using whole berry grapes that were picked at moderate sugars, usually with selected yeasts, with a cool two week maceration, then raised for just under a year neutral (well seasoned) French oak, all to highlight this beautiful wine’s terroir, purity and vitality. Nicely complex and supple keeping its natural acidity, the long and cooler vintage, again like the last few years, speaks clearly in this Cab Franc with expressive fruit, but with a Loire like sense of earth, mineral and spice, many old world Franc lovers will appreciate the style and subtly this wine. I find this vineyard provides a certain set of flavors that are very similar year in and year out with this wine showing an intriguing and perfumed nose with touches of violets, crushed red berries, rose petals, cinnamon and chalky tones that focuses your attention to its medium/full palate that feels balanced and mature, delivering currant, macerated cherry, brambly raspberry and Mûre fruit along with a hint of classic bell pepper, some sweet sandalwood, anise, dried herbs and wild ceps. I am an admirer of Ian Brand’s wines, they are authentic and transparent offerings that can equally and easily go with haut cuisine and or simpler stuff, with this Bayly Cab Franc happy to go with burgers, though serious enough to pair with duck breast.
As is well noted these days Ian Brand, is producing some of the central coast’s most interesting wines and has found some remarkable and under recognized vineyard sites, such as this remote Bayly Ranch vineyard in the the wilds of San Benito County, where some of California’s earliest settlers to this part of the state planted vines back in the 1800s, though were largely forgotten until Brand came on the scene. The maker of the fun Le P’Tit Paysan line and the tasting La Marea Albarino and Spanish style Grenache, does an amazing set of small lot signature single vineyard wines under his I. Brand & Family label, where you find wines like this Franc, as well as other stars including limited bottlings of old school mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, old vine Grenache and a Rhone blend sourced from historic vines in the Chalone AVA, as well as Ian’s fabulous new Arneis, Melon and the Ramato style skin contact Pinot Gris. The Bayly Ranch is located in the San Benito AVA and within the Paicines zone, which is near the Tres Pinos Creek and the San Andreas Fault. The soils here consist of a stony mix including ancient alluvial deposits with an array of geologic structures in this warm climate that refreshed by cool nights, making it a sublime place for Cabernet Franc, as this wine confidently displays. The 2018 is nearly sold out, so I would recommend grabbing some while you can, though I’m sure the 2019 will be just as exciting when its released this Winter.
($30 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive