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Cabernet Franc is one of the grapes Delia planted early on when settling on Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain in 1986. Both the namesake VIADER Proprietary Red Blend (30% Cab Franc in 2009) and the DARE by Viader single varietal (100%) show how the grape’s femininity, elegance and seductiveness shines through when cultivated here in the New World. Delia chose to focus on this particular grape variety because it had always captured her attention. She found Cabernet Franc to be intriguing, pleasant – almost voluptuous – on the palate, and moreover it was not prevalent in Napa Valley in the early 1980′s when she established the winery. Our inaugural release of VIADER back in 1989 had 40% Cab Franc as well. Since the beginning, Delia has been committed to blending and bottling this noble grape to capture its finesse and character which is unlike any other grape variety.
The grape is one of the five Bordeaux varietals and the dominant red grape of Loire Valley’s Chinon dating back several centuries. By the 18th century, the grape was widely planted in Pomerol and St.-Emillion. And while rarely the dominant player in wines of Bordeaux, it’s a significant component in the wine that inspired Delia’s choice: Cheval Blanc. In fact, the VIADER clone of Cabernet Franc is one of the few in existence that comes from the same St.-Emilion, Bordeaux area.
The Cabernet Franc varietal is mostly added to the VIADER Proprietary Red Blend for its lovely perfume that brings to mind violets, rich raspberries and plums, with a bit of red currant. The tannins show more restraint than those in its close relative Cabernet Sauvignon so the finish is smoother and silkier.
Here on Howell Mountain in sunny Napa Valley we love the expression of Cab Franc in both the small production VIADER and DARE by Viader wines, exploding with ripe dark plums and berries yet finishing smoothly with an elegance all of its own. If you haven’t yet tried our current releases, please come for a tasting soon or visit our website for more information.
This past weekend on June 15, 2013, we were 2,000 feet above the Napa Valley at Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery (2000 Summit Lake Dr Angwin, CA) on Howell Mountain to celebrate the wonderful Napa Valley Grapegrowers and their guest bidders from their annual fundraiser STOMP, which occurs later this summer. The special mountainside property really came alive for an evening under the stars in perfect weather. It was quite a family affair for us, with Janet pouring an array of Viader wines, from the velvety soft 2011 DARE Cabernet Franc to the mighty Magnum of 2008 VIADER Proprietary Red Blend (Comprised of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon & 31% Cabernet Franc).
Other family members playing a key role this evening included our amazing Mariela Viader, who catered the farm-to-table dinner for almost 200 guests as hubbie Alan manned the BBQ. He spent over 24 hours roasting two 60-pound pigs and another 60 pounds of various pork shoulders to pair with the different Napa Valley wines and side dishes. Mariela prepared a plate of roasted seasonal vegetables, a wonderful heirloom tomato salad and homemade cornbread. The meal was remarkable and as the sun disappeared behind the mountains, guests helped themselves to roast-your-own marshmallow campfire s’mores while others danced salsa under a disco ball. We enjoy being involved in community events such as this, sharing great food and wine from our family to yours! Thanks to the Napa Valley Grapegrowersfor organizing such an amazing evening.
Please take a look at our photos to get a glimpse of the festivities!