StoneFly Vineyards2002 Cabernet Franc
(Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley)
Longtime Silver Oak winemaker Daniel Baron has his hands in three different projects where he works primarily with a trio of Napa Valley’s red grapes. At Silver Oak, Baron’s Cabernets have ‘em lined up outside the Oakville winery each year as if his fans are waiting to get in to see the Stones. Baron has spread his talents to Silver Oak’s other property – Twomey, up the road south of Calistoga – where he’s now making some of America’s most deeply flavored Merlots.
Down the road apiece, on the east side of the valley in the Oak Knoll AVA, Baron is the consulting winemaker At StoneFly Vineyard, where he’s fashioned a most Loire-like Cabernet Franc.
The 2 ½-acre vineyard is three miles east of the city of Napa, near the base of Mt. George.
This Cab Franc, with the addition of 2 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, is very aromatic, predominated by the grape’s signature blueberry characteristic. In the mouth, it’s solid and well-balanced with good, tight structure. What makes that possible is the fact that the listed alcohol is “only” 13.7 percent; and that Baron chooses to adopt Chinon-like methods, fermenting the juice in small lots. It’s drinking fine now, but will improve over the next 10 years.
The wine, made at Monticello just west of the Silverado Trail and also in the Oak Knoll district from where some of the fruit was sourced, was aged just short of a year in new (only about 25 percent) French oak. Only 832 cases were produced.
Reviewed June 8, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.