Ryme Cellars Alegria Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2013

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It would be a mistake to compare this Cab Franc to Le Macchiole’s Paleo – the subject of my last post. The aim is different and the story more suitably humble to California’s young generation of winemakers.

It would be fair to compare Ryme’s Alegria vineyard to Paleo in that both present Cab Franc at its sweet, harmonious best. They share more in common with each other than with the Loire Valley.

How Cab Franc is Meant to Taste

I was first turned on to Ryme by Pax Mahle at Wind Gap. Owner Ryan Glaab works with Pax at Wind Gap and makes his wines there. Like Pax at Wind Gap, Ryan and his wife Megan make only idiosyncratic wines with varieties that are particularly transparent and expressive of their own unique character: Aglianico, Vermentino, Cabernet Franc, Fiano. They prefer wines with higher acid and tannin than typical for California. Wines are produced without additions and with indigenous yeasts from meticulously managed, ecologically farmed vineyards on contract.

The Alegria vineyard Cab Franc follows that model. It is made from vines planted in 1990 in the Russian River Valley vineyard – a modestly warm site that ensures modestly ripe berries. The 2013 is 12.6% ABV and fermented dry.

As much as I enjoy a good Loire Valley Cab Franc, most are far too green and weedy for my taste. It is only those few wines from the best producers made from grapes that reach proper phenolic maturity throughout the three main components of the grape that appeal to me. Times are definitely a changin’, but buying most Loire Cab Franc right now will not appeal to a large segment of wine drinkers.

Ryme’s version manages to easily achieve the fruit I prefer from properly ripe and enjoyable grapes. At the same time, the sweeter fruit does not dominate the other characteristics of Cab Franc – herbs and flowers – that make the grape compelling. As such, it is a complete wine and while it is not a legendary bottling like Paleo, it isn’t meant to be. I think it is also a delicious, correct and accessible version of Cab Franc that would turn many consumers onto the grape.

While I have never met them, based on this wine I would expect the Glaab’s to be compelling, thoughtful individuals who are comfortable elevating integrity above normalcy. That sounds about right to me.

Another success story from the “New California”.

Very Good+
$32 USD from the winery mailing list

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