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shady laneIn the U.S., cool climate reds such as Cabernet Franc tend to be lean and less opulent than those from the warmer regions on the West coast. When produced at the reserve level they often suffer from too much oak since they lack the fruit power to balance it out.

Not so here. This is a beautifully crafted wine from an excellent vintage with seamlessly integrated oak. The bell pepper aromas that some people find off putting in Cabernet Franc are firmly under control replaced by understated herbaceousness.

Gentle pencil shavings and muted vanilla aromas support black cherry and violets. Traces of gravel notes appear as the glass nears empty. The medium weight palate shows a bit of chocolate and peppery spice before gliding through the elegant, compressed, medium length finish that features a fresh, vaguely minty halo with dried cranberry emerging at terminus. Vivid acidity, refreshing but never sharp, conspire with refined, low key tannins to complete the impression of a warm, gentle, relaxed sensuality ideally paired with Norah Jones Come Away with Me.

Technical notes: A blend of the best barrels, aged for 21 months in 50% new and 50% neutral French oak.

Score: 92

Price: $45 (inquire here)

Alc: 12.5%

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