Sforzando Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Franc 2009: You’ve got to do a bit of searching to find Central Coast cab francs, and even then, be prepared for often rustic interpretations that can vary wildly in levels of ripeness, barrel age, and style.

This version from the “nanowinery” of musician Graham Palmer (Mad Caddies, Buellton) approaches a leaner, Loire Valley-inspired sweet spot for the grape, which is traditionally used to cut fruitier Bordeaux varietals of merlot and cab sauvignon. There are hints of fruit, cherry maybe, wisps of raspberry certainly, but the dominant characteristic is minerality, with an almost flinty graphite aroma and flavor. The only thing rustic is the thin layer of tannic grip, but that’s probably a good thing too, making it work well with food and with age.

His 2013 sauv blanc is also a daintier examination of that grape, pale in color while allowing the guava and grass to shine.

See sforzandowines.com.


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