2017 I. Brand & Family Winery, Cabernet Franc, Bates Ranch Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.
The new release of Bates Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Franc by Ian Brand under his I. Brand & Family Winery highlights this sites quality and unique profile of flavors in gorgeous detail, this beautifully textured and deep Cab Franc is one of the best single varietal Bordeaux style versions of this grape in California. The Bates Ranch Cabernet Franc parcel was planted back in 1978 and set is on red Franciscan series, iron rich and gravelly volcanic soils that delivers a striking mineral elegance and warm ripeness. The 2017 vintage gave Brand a near perfect set of grapes from which to work, making for a full bodied wine that feels wonderfully engaging and joyously pleasing with a refined palate with silken tannins, polished acidity and layers of dark fruits that are framed by subtle use of French oak. Brand’s deft touch and style are on full display here in his Bates Ranch Cabernet Franc, from this old vine site in the southeastern zone of the Santa Cruz Mountains, in which he employed a traditional fermentation, with careful sorting and de-stemming of the Franc and elevage in mostly used barrels, with Ian using just enough new wood to do the job, if need be.
While the 2016 revealed a more powerful and earthy side of the Bates Ranch Cab Franc, this stunning 2017 edition is a pure vintage expression with more supple mouth feel, delicacy of elements and finesse, without losing any depth of flavors and complexity, it is a wine that looks set to age well and set to be a classic, it will certainly get richer and gain more serious components with another 3 to 5 years in bottle. The 2017 performs nicely now, and has a seductive look and personality with a dark garnet and ruby hue in the glass and a pretty floral bouquet with a hint of violets along with red berries and that (mention) exciting minerallity, all of which leads to an array of blackberry, plum, red currant and cherry fruits, plus a touch of sandalwood, loam, sweet pipe tobacco, baking spices, anise and a lingering echo of the nose. There’s a lot to love in Brand’s latest set of releases, in fact, considering the pressures of intense expectations from the media after Brand won winemaker of the year last year, these new wines are some of his best yet, especially this Bates Cabernet Franc, along with his outstanding set of Grenache bottlings, his Monte Bello Road Cabernet Sauvignon and his iconic Enz Vineyard Old Vine Mourvedre.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive