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2011 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc

2011 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc

Bob Foley
Jeff and Carolyn Smith
The Chilton and Clark Families
Vineyard Designation
Blueline Estate
Soil Series
Gravelly Cortina River Wash
Calistoga, Napa Valley
100% Cabernet Franc
Barrel Program
Aged 20 months in 40% new French oak

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Other Vintages

Vintage Overview

The 2011 vintage was cool by Napa standards, with average daytime high temperatures hovering in the low 80s. In many respects it was similar to 2010, with the exception of early October rains that created unusual concentrations of Tule fog in many areas of Napa Valley. Located in a slightly warmer part of the Valley, the Blueline Estate is ideally suited to deal with cooler vintages and fog thanks to its well-drained gravelly soils with low water holding capacity, and west-facing exposures that take in full afternoon sun. Additionally, the canyons above the Blueline Estate produce a thermal draw that quickly dissipates fog, allowing for greater hang time. As a result, we were able to achieve greater ripeness while the cooler days helped retain natural acidity, resulting in more classically structured wines. Ultimately, the 2011 Blueline wines achieved ripe tannins with supple textures, great aromatics, and medium-plus levels of concentration, in addition to the lift and layering of cooler vintage acidity. Rather than exhibit pure power, the 2011 vintage showcases a full spectrum of red to black fruits, great balance, and layered nuance across all five Bordeaux varietals. 

Tasting Profile

Of all the varietals planted at Blueline, “vintage” will have the greatest impact on the Cabernet Franc. Warmer vintages tend to lean toward the floral spectrum of aromatics while cooler vintages render more exotic spice notes. The 2011 Cabernet Franc does not disappoint with intriguing Indian green cardamom, cedar, toasted sage, green tea, and freshly ground dark roast coffee. Like the 2011 Blueline Cabernet Sauvignon, the Cabernet Franc has a tight center core finished with an unctuous outer layer of fruit and silky mouth feel. Layers of black cassis and red plum give the wine plenty of density. Still, it possesses subtly and structure, relying on the finesse of delicate flavors rather than pure fruit power. Like the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, we believe the cooler vintage style will benefit from longer aging that will accentuate the exotic spice notes.

Cellaring Potential

The cooler vintage 2011 BLCF yielded some very exotic spices like green cardamom and cedar box aromas. We think these elements will become more accentuated and compelling over time, much like the 1998 vintage, leading us to consider laying this down and checking in on it around 2018 or 2019 as the tertiary aromatics evolve. As with all of our Cab Franc vintages, we think it will continue to evolve interesting elements over the next 20 years. 

~Jeff Smith, January 2016

Other Vintages

2015 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc
2014 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc
2013 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc
2012 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc
2010 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc
2009 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc
2008 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc
2007 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc
2006 Blueline Estate Cabernet Franc