Mid-week rainy day shut-in, we opened some wine to sip with Linda's Italian Bruscetta polenta and some artisan cheeses, this aged Cabernet Franc from a Napa Valley label and producer from a by-gone era, Liparita, different than the current day label.
While it isn't chronicled on my Winesite, I recall we visited Liparita and tasted earlier releases of this label with winemaker Gove Celia from barrel at the Oakville crush facility during one of our Napa trips back in the late nineties.
I've written earlier in these pages about this 'old' Liparita brand from the nineties. The actual original brand dates back to the historic beginnings of wine in America back in the 1880's when William Keyes, a geologist, settled in Napa Valley and discovered the Howell Mountain terroir with its volcanic soils which he felt would be ideal for wine. The soils reminded him of those on Lipari Island, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Sicily, which became the inspiration for the name “Liparita.”
That original Liparita, like many other early wineries, succumbed to the restraints of Prohibition and the attacks of phylloxera on the early vine plantings. This Liparita brand resurfaced briefly during the nineties and then after waning was purchased was relaunched by Spencer Hoopes who purchased it in 2006. The Hoopes' branding label is what you find in wineshops today, producing and remarketing Napa Valley appellation specific wines. The revitalized Liparita label replicates the original early 1880's design, and that original intent to produce great cabernets from the various notable vineyards from across Napa Valley.
I read that Gove Celia is director of winemaking at Neal Family Vineyards which ironically is on Liparita Road in Angwin high up on Howell Mountain. We missed this during our numerous trips to Howell Mountain and will explore this further.
Hard to believe its been almost ten years since I last tasted this label. Moreso that it still has that same taste profile and character. Back in 2010 and 2012 I wrote, "We've been long time fans of Liparita Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots - this is our first Cabernet Franc and what a hit - a nice achievement exceeding expectations indeed - better than their other endeavors from this era.'
"Like a left bank Bordeaux that features Cabernet Franc to add flavor and structure, this full bodied Cab Franc was all-in with huge floral bouquet and full forward flavors of black berry and black raspberry fruits, a layer of clove spice, leather and a hint of cedar on a long lingering finish. Its slightly flabby awkwardness can be forgiven for its big forward tasty floral and fruit."
Similar to the previous tasting, however tonight the floral and fruit flavors have started to give way to non-fruit flavors of smoke, earthy and leather.
We've been long time fans of Liparita Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots - this is our first Cabernet Franc and what a hit - a nice achievement exceeding expectations indeed - better than their other endeavors from this era.
Back in 2012 I rated this RM 91 points. Tonight I give it an 88 based on diminished fruits and floral notes.