Ripe, juicy blackberry aromas have a creamy, chocolaty edge, with notes of bay leaf and juniper emerging with a few swirls of the glass. This brambly, medium-bodied red unleashes lush blackberry flavors dusted with cocoa powder and sweet smoky spice. Polished and ripe, the wine has lovely, enveloping fruit intensity with enough acidity to keep it vibrant and lithe.
Black raspberry, plum, violets and vanilla.
In our search for unusual and delicious wines, we found this special bottling of St. Supéry Cabernet Franc, which is not available in stores or restaurants. Typically medium-bodied with herb-tinged black fruit flavors (such as blackberries, plums, blueberries), Cabernet Franc is not often bottled as a stand-alone varietal. (In France, the grape is grown primarily in the Loire Valley and in Bordeaux, where it's blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to add complexity.) St. Supéry is a family-owned winery in Rutherford, in the heart of Napa Valley, which is devoted to traditional Bordeaux varietals. Founded in the early 1980s by French vintner, wine merchant and importer Robert Skalli, the winery uses only estate-grown fruit to produce its wines and bottles them on site. Most of the Cabernet Franc goes into the winery's Elu cuvée, a well-regarded blend of traditional Bordeaux red grapes. But each year, a few barrels of Cab Franc are bottled separately; less than 200 cases were made in 2006. At more than 1,500 acres, St. Supéry's estate holdings are an important part of Napa Valley. The winery is committed to sustainable agriculture and farms only about one-third of its property, leaving the rest as open parkland and forest.
With its medium tannins and ripe fruit flavors, the St. Supéry Cabernet Franc pairs well with many of the same foods as a medium-bodied Merlot. Excellent with hearty poultry dishes, game and pork, the wine will also go nicely with simple steaks. Try accent ingredients that play to the wine's spice and herbal notes, such as peppercorns, juniper berries, fresh green herbs and mild Asian spices like star anise. This Napa Valley red calls out for either good country cooking with sausage and peppers or an upscale version of the same idea, like my recipe for Grilled Pork Chops with Peck Seasoning and Charred Peppers. Peck is an exquisite food emporium in Milan, and this mixture is an interpretation of the most popular seasoning in the Peck kitchen.
Dollarhide, St. Supéry's second Napa estate, is a historic cattle and horse ranch nestled among the hills of the Napa Valley.