2015 I. Brand & Family Winery, Cabernet Franc, Bates Ranch Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.
Grown on the dust reds soils of Bates Ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains Ian Brand’s latest release of Cabernet Franc reveals itself as a sexy California version of this varietal with layers of flavors that are neither Bordeaux or Loire in inner resemblance, but offers a bit of each to the whole in this beautiful wine from one of Monterey’s huge talents. The 2015 I. Brand & Family Winery Cabernet Franc Bates Ranch Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains starts with a deep garnet/red hue in the glass with a bouquet that shines with crushed violets/lilacs, green peppercorns, incense and earthy/leather notes along with a kiss of sweet/smoky oak before a medium/firm palate of black cherry, plum, red vine picked berries and a touch of crabapple fruit as well as minty herb, faint bell pepper, straw, iron dust/stoniness and anise. Still youthfully sharp and focused with juicy acidity this forceful wine has hidden reserves of depth and power, but unfolds delicately and with almost St.-Emillon charm and grace, it’s sweet ripe natural offset by it’s intensity and ridged tannin that somehow doesn’t over shadow the supple textured mouth feel and poise! Bright and lingering with an alluring sense of being and place this Cab Franc is a perfect bookend for Ian Brand’s more Chinon like Bayly Ranch Paicines, San Benito version of the same grape, it is hard to favor one over the other, though stylistically this one is prettier at this early stage, certainly I would want both around and I myself will get a few of each to see how they age. Brand is something of a vineyard whisperer and pays serious attention to dirt, as in soils, and his understand winemaking allows for terroir to be the driving force behind his wines, I am in awe of his Cabernet Franc(s), his Monte Bello Road Cabernet Sauvignon and his almost sold out old vine Mourvedre. Also, he is making quite a name for himself in the geeky world of Grenache and his latest old vine Besson Vineyard is must for Grenache/Garnacha freaks! With tiny production numbers, well below a hundred cases of each version Ian’s Cab Francs are get now bottings and you’ll need to track them down, now available direct through their Carmel Valley tasting room (831-359-9834) they should prove rewarding to the patient, best from 2018 to 2025, maybe longer, I intend to find out.
($38 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

By admin