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Cabernet Franc, 2012. M

Cabernet Franc, 2012. M

Item #: L0714R2DC
Vintage: 2012
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
Vineyard/Appellation: Santa Ynez Valley, California
Color: Light purple
Nose: Boysenberry and cranberry
Palate: Spice and earth mixed with cranberry and cocoa
Finish: Softly tannic with blackberry fruit
Rating: 96
Cellaring/Serving Suggestions: Drink through 2016/Alcohol - 14%

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M, by Martellotto Wines began in a 17th century trullo, an iconic house in Alberobello (the place of pretty trees) in Southern Italy. The old world is what owner and winemaker Greg Martellotto's motivation is to make wines that speak of a unique vineyard in California. Greg loves wines that have a vibrant acidity combined with bright fruit and that intangible, hard to pinpoint X factor.

Mass produced wines that are squeaky clean and uniform are less interesting. Starting with healthful and sustainably farmed grapes, Greg combines creative fermentation techniques with an artistic blending prior to bottling to produce wines that are distinctive and delicious. Greg's intention is to make remarkable wines of consequence, consistency, value and varietal expression. Martellotto wines are allocated, bottle numbered, vineyard designate wines and a pleasure to share.

Old is new again. M by Martellotto delivers an old world sensibility, a respect for quality and an enduring vision. Through a unique collaboration of sustainable grape growers, superb winemaking is the key to share an intimate experience of place. To reveal layers of intrigue one needs careful site selection, a natural approach to winemaking and a deft blend.

An enticing nose, lush fruit, flavors of blueberry, oak and vanillin, black cherry and herbs indulge the senses in an intricately layered blend. Label designer, Ryan Hartman, is a graphic artist based in San Francisco. By adapting a Baroque script and ornamentation as inspiration, the design balances classic and modern fonts. The label charts a new direction in wine label art by harmonizing the winemaker's intention from grapes to bottle to the label. Individual bottle numbers highlight the unique, boutique character of this wine and design.

Cabernet Franc is a relative newcomer to the Santa Ynez Valley but has done exceedingly well here. The first experiments began nearly 30 years ago using it as a blending grape. As the vines aged and the wine got better and better, it has had great success as a stand-alone varietal. This is one of the best we've tasted. While resembling Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in some respects, it also has its own unique character and flavor. More delicate, but not a lightweight, it can handle a steak as well as chicken Florentine.

July Vintners Series Newsletter (.pdf)