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by Fred McMillin
for January 14, 1999

 

A Super Franc


Prologue

From the Jarvis Winery brochure: "Wine writer Fred McMillin states that, 'Jarvis Cabernet Franc can leap tall buildings in a single bound. It is super.'"


The Rest of the Story

Who makes such a wine? Well, he merely was trained by the greatest California winemaker of this century, Andre Tchelistcheff. He is Andre's son, Dimitri. Proprietor William Jarvis likes Dimitri's work, saying his many skills include "the uncanny ability to taste a new wine and accurtely predict what it will be like not only in two years when it is due for release, but also in the next ten to fifteen years."

Jarvis Cabernet Franc In a blind tasting, my panel found the '96 Franc dazzling. How long will it stay that way? Dimitri says that while the wine is already delightfully approachable, "due to its superior quality fruit and structure, it will age beautifully over the next 10 years."


The Wine

1996 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley
Jarvis Winery, 2970 Monticello Rd., Napa, CA.
Source of grapes—Grown soley in the Jarvis vineyards.
Vintages—The Franc is made only in the years it is best, and there's not much of it. The Franc I called "super" was the 375-case 1994. Production of this '96 was 224 cases.
Temperture in the aging cave—61 degrees F. (17 mo.)
Filtered?—Are you kidding? Dimitri didn't go to all that work and then leave part of the flavor in a filtration room. NO FILTERING.
How many days to harvest?—This is a boutique operation. The team agreed the grapes were at their peak on Sept. 24, 1994. They all were harvested that day.
Contact—Denise Hammerberg, (800) 255-5280
Panel's Rating—EXCELLENT
Price—$44 range


Postscript

About those small production figures, don't expect any large increase. In his new book, Three Generations, Proprietor Jarvis gives two reasons why he's not expanding: 1) You can make better wine on a small scale, and 2) you can enjoy the operation more if it's small. William, and his co-owner wife Leticia, and Dimitri are doing just that...enjoying making better wine!

Note: For more about the winery, see the June 11, 1998 WineDay titled, "Javis Bliss."

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 

WineDay Annex

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