Buttonwood 2012 Cabernet Franc Santa Ynez Valley:  The perfect, somewhat different summer wine, this cab franc is both light on its feet and full of flavor. That’s no surprise coming from the 2012 growing season that let winemaker Karen Steinwachs and her team pick on Halloween — talk about hang time! Add to that 27 months in 25 percent new French oak, and the result is a deliciously complex range of red fruits, subtle spice, and vanilla notes with nary a hint of that vegetal funk some Bordeaux varietals in California suffer from (see: that hang time again).

So when a cabernet sauvignon seems too heavy for the heat, think cab franc, with its more finessed tannins and in this case low-ish 13.9 percent ABV.

See buttonwoodwinery.com. —George Yatchisin


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