I don’t know much about winemaker Ian Brand’s project in California, but I saw this wine, bought it, and I love it. It’s idiosyncratic, but wonderful. An ethereal expression of Cabernet Franc from Paicines, an AVA so obscure I had to look it up (it’s inland from Monterey). I think I need to try more of these wines. I Brand & Family are sourcing from historical vineyards in Monterey Bay, and make wines the ‘New California’ way: with sensitivity, picking at the appropriate time, and with gentle extraction. I think this one may well be whole bunch.
I Brand & Family Cabernet Franc Bayly Ranch 2017 Paicenes, California
12% alcohol. This is amazing. It’s floral and fresh with fine strawberry and cherry fruit on the nose with nice hints of green and some dried earth. The palate is fine and tapered with lush, sweet, smooth texture to the strawberry and red cherry fruit. This has lovely depth, some fruit sweetness, and refined green notes. There’s just a hint of that chalky Cabernet Franc character under the sweet, subtly herb-tinged fruit, but the main theme is silky, smooth cashmere-texture refined red fruits. Quite beautiful. 95/100 (£36 Vincognito)
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