Leave it to the mad — in the best of ways — scientist of wine Bryan Babcock to be one of the Santa Barbara producers eager to bring back cabernet franc after a virus wiped out most of this region’s vines in the 1990s. The new stock led to Bright Fortune, this ripe and delicious red there isn’t enough of.
Cab franc is actually one of cabernet sauvignon’s genetic parents, but its sophisticated sibling probably thinks of Dad as a country bumpkin. A bit more rustic, it’s a people’s wine, if not quite a pauper’s at $35, with a hearty, pleasing mouthfeel, layers of dark blackberry and damson plum jam fruit, and a rooted earth and spice core that keeps you coming back to the glass.
Plus, you get a Haruki Murakami quote on the bottle as a bonus.