A generation ago, the noble Chenin Blanc was the most widely planted white grape in the Napa Valley, almost double the acreage of Chardonnay. Today, there are a scant 14 acres that are in high demand by a new generation of winemakers, who seek to create something special from this unique varietal. For Lang & Reed, the inspiration remains the Loire Valley in France, where Chenin Blanc gained its fame. The source for this bottling comes from the Oak Knoll District in the Napa Valley. The vineyard is located a stone’s throw from the Napa River, in an area noted for its cool climate and well-drained soils. The wines vinification is a collaborative effort between John and son, Reed. Reed has had his hand in making white wine on three continents - Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, Chardonnay in Napa Valley and Chenin Blanc in Chinon, France. For this wine, the grapes were whole-cluster pressed, left to settle for a day, and then transferred into 10 barrels, two of which were stainless steel and the remainder being French oak [7% new barrel]. Half of the barrels were inoculated with selected yeast strains, while the balance was allowed to ferment on the indigenous yeast. The lees were stirred (battonage) bi-weekly until February, one month before bottling. The final assemblage proved greater than any of the individual barrels.
The Source of Lang & Reed's Chenin Blanc from Mendocino is from the Norgard Vineyard in Mendocino County in Northern California, specifically in a region of Mendocino referred to as the ‘Talmage Bench. The vineyard, located on the east side of the Russian River in an area that has excelled in growing Chenin Blanc for many years, this vineyard was planted in 1980 on a gentle, north-facing slope with excellent aspect that allows for great drainage and even ripening without too much heat accumulation. This wines vilification is a collaborative effort between John and son, Reed. Reed has had his hand in making white wine on three continents - Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, Chardonnay in Napa Valley and Chenin Blanc in Chinon, France. For this wine, the grapes were whole-cluster pressed, left to settle for a day, and then transferred into 8 barrels, two of which were stainless steel and the balance being seasoned French oak. Half of the barrels were inoculated with selected yeast strains, while the other half were allowed to ferment on the indigenous yeast. The lees were stirred (battonage) bi-weekly until two weeks before bottling in early April. The final assemblage proved greater than any of the individual barrels.
When we began our exploration of Cabernet Franc we set out with the goal to present a wine that was ‘true to type’, or in wine-speak, a wine that showed ‘typicity’ – boldly saying ‘Cabernet Franc’! Our exploration, in progress since 1993, brings us to the rows of many vineyards in very diverse growing conditions. Now, for over a decade the base of this wine emanates from a little north of us [north of Napa Valley that is] in the hills of Lake County. We have been working with vineyards ‘up’ in Lake County long enough to have found growers who are passionate in providing us with the grapes we need to help express our vision of Cabernet Franc. As has been the case since 2012, this vintage includes grapes from Sonoma County, including Alexander Valley as well as a pinch of spice and structure from Napa Valley. The grapes from Alexander Valley are from the famed T bar T ranch that is planted to the specific ‘214’ entav clone that we are finding planted in more of the great Cabernet Franc ‘terrior’ in the North Coast [the same Loire origin clone as our Napa source]. This expressive clone combined with each of the other vineyard components offers a very broad palate of aromas and flavors that are rich, satisfying and displays the exuberant expression of Cabernet Franc typical from Lang & Reed.
We were lucky that the tenth vintage of the Lang & Reed ‘Two-Fourteen’ Cabernet Franc came from such a beautiful vintage as 2016. Brilliant hues of crimson and violet glint off the rim of this wine, and the aromas explode out of the glass: mixed cherry, raspberry, and earthy spice. The deep flavors exude bright fruits. It is medium to full-bodied, juicy, perfumed, and shows great persistence of flavor. The ‘214’ clone has always produced Cabernet Franc that is elegant, subtle and expressive. Though the wine is very enjoyable now, this vintage has the capacity to age for many years in a good cellar.