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1999 Cosentino Cabernet Franc, Napa

I know Cosentino wines mostly because of their blockbuster Zinfandels, Cigar Zin, and The Zin. They make a lot more wines (approximately 30) including this Cabernet Franc.

Mitch Cosentino is both the owner and winemaker, and talks a lot about two things: blending and punched cap fermentation, both of which he believes allow him to make distinguished wines of extremely high quality. He's certainly had enough time to practice, having started his winemaking career over 20 years ago in a rented space in Modesto, California. After moving to Napa and spending a few years selling his young grapes to larger producers, Mike struck out with his own label and hasn't looked back since.

Most wines are made in small production runs, in this case a bottling of about 900 cases. Here are Mitch's production notes about this wine:

Appellation: Napa Valley - St. Helena

Composition: 100% Cabernet Franc from St. Helena.

Winemaking: Most of the fruit was punch cap fermented in 1/2 ton bins for between 7 and 11 days. Each lot was barrel aged separately in both French and American oak. The lots were blended and racked once before bottling, unfined.

Not many people produce a straight Cab Franc in Napa, but after tasting this wine, I'm beginning to wish that more people did.

Tasting Notes:
Clearly an older wine, this one is colored a dark red that is headed towards brick. The nose is full of wonderful nasturtium and plum aromas, with an undercurrent of black cherry and sawdust. On the tongue the wine is velvety, with dusty tannins and a bergamot/Earl Grey component that swirls around the predominant flavors of cherry and woodsmoke. I'd give this wine about 2-3 years more before it starts to head downhill without extreme care.

Food Pairing:
I drank this bottle with some friends while eating cheese (specifically very old Gouda) and it complemented the nutty and salty flavours very well. From the perspective of a main dish, I would be tempted to try it with red-wine-braised duck legs with roasted pears and onions.

Overall Score: 8.5/9

How much?: $34

This wine is available for purchase through the winery, or at K&L.

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