Sunday, July 2, 2023

Lang & Reed Two-Fourteen Napa Cabernet Franc

Lang & Reed "Two-Fourteen" Napa Valley Cabernet Franc with grilled pizza

We had three of our grandsons for the day so Linda prepared pizzas on the grill. I pulled from our cellar a 'pizza wine' to pair for the occasion, a bold fruit forward wine that is not so complex or nuanced as to not be appreciated with the tangy pizza. I selected this aged Cabernet Franc which proved ideal for the occasion.

Lang & Reed Two-Fourteen Napa Valley Cabernet Franc 2014

I wrote last year that I've seen this label many times over the years but admit I believe that was my first initiation to a wine from this producer. I must say I was impressed and will pay more attention to this label in the future. 

The remainder of that blogpost from that earlier tasting

I am a fan of Cabernet Franc and will put this on my watch list for expressive wine drinking from a producer who appreciates and focuses on the varietal that is normally reserved for but a fraction of a Bordeaux blend, usually included to introduce color and structure.

This is produced by Tracey & John Skupny, who started Lang & Reed Napa Valley in 1993 with the goal to explore the distinct charms of Cabernet Franc and to craft wines that are both expressive and enjoyable to drink.

Their wine experience spans nearly a half century working in the restaurant trade in Kansas City as wine stewards (sommeliers). They pursued their passion for wine and moved to California in 1980, eventually settling in Napa Valley in 1984.

They were intrigued with the distinction of Cabernet Franc, one of the noble varietals from the Loire Valley and Bordeaux wine regions of France. Cabernet Franc is a foundation key varietal in Bordeaux red wine blends, included to contribute aromatics and robust flavors to round out and extend the tasting profile of the blend.  

In 1993, Lang & Reed Napa Valley was born with a focus on Cabernet Franc. Named after their two sons, J Reed and Jerzy Lang, Lang & Reed Napa Valley is family owned and operated. Through their winemaking, their wines tell their family story of a life dedicated to family working together to craft artisan wines.

Through exploration and investigation of all things ‘Cabernet Franc’, they selected Clone 214 that originated in the Loire Valley of France, home to some of the worlds’ most renowned Cabernet Franc vineyards and producers. 

In 2007 they selected the Sugarloaf Vineyard in the southeastern corner of Napa Valley, located on a hillside slope with ideal rocky soils with moderate temperatures and cooling breezes that emanate from the nearby northern reaches of San Francisco Bay. 

This new world climate combined with this old world Loire Clone 214 is the basis for Lang & Reed ‘Two-Fourteen’ Cabernet Franc, the only known bottling of this unique clone in California. 

Today, they work closely with grape growers to combine the appropriate clones grown in the soil and terroir and apply growing techniques to achieve the most desirable attributes they seek. They source grapes from vineyards in Napa Valley, Alexander Valley, and Lake County.

Winemaker notes: "This is the eighth vintage of the Lang & Reed ‘Two-Fourteen’ Cabernet Franc and, true to type, this wine shows a persistent purity of aromas and flavors.  At first scent, this wine shows a nice burst of raspberry and blueberry, with a top note of violet and  a  backdrop  of  savory  herbaceousness.    The  palate  is  medium  bodied  with  beautiful  Cabernet  Franc  purity,  texture,  and  length.    Though  very  appealing  for  immediate  pleasure,  the  structural  elements  will  allow  this  wine  to  age  gracefully for the next 7 to 10 years."

This is composed of 100% Cabernet Franc, the Loire Entav Clone 214, sourced solely from the Napa Valley Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard. The wine is aged 16 Months in French Oak Barrels. 849 Cases were produced. 

This was rated 93 Points by Wine Spectator, 92 Points by Wine Enthusiast and 90 Points by Wine Advocate. James Laube of Wine Spectator says its "Best  from  2020  through  2030.”

The fill level, label, foil, and most importantly the cork were all in perfect condition. The cork was inky black at the wine contact end. It was so tight that I opted to use a traditional cork screw for extraction, rather than my customary 'ah-so' two pronged cork puller, although I inserted and used the lead pronge to loosen the cork to ease removal.

We still have a few more bottles of this and at going on ten years, this is likely at or just passing the apex of its drinking window. It should be consumed over the next couple of years. 

Dark ruby colored, medium full bodied, forward full expressive ripe dark berry fruits with tangy spice and herbs, notes of tea and hints of cedar and oak with a moderate tannin lingering finish. 

RM 92 points.