Friday, February 08, 2019

Cardinal Point Clay Hill Cabernet Franc 2014 (VA)


Ruth and General Paul Norman bought a nice sized farm in Virginia, near Afton Mountain, in the Blue Ridge region, in the mid-1980s. The General and his family had been stationed in Europe for some years, and returned home with the dream of owning their own vineyard. 

Tim Gorman is the winemaker at Cardinal Point Vineyard. When he was younger, he lived abroad in France and Germany, which influenced his deep appreciation of fine wines and food. However, he is a Virginia-born and educated winemaker. According to his bio, "Tim started tending the family vineyard in 1986, shortly after graduating from James Madison University. In 1991, he enrolled at Virginia Tech to learn more about the science of growing grapes used for winemaking. He received a bachelor’s degree in horticulture, cum laude, in 1993.

Brother John designed and renovated the old farmhouse and barn. And Tim's sister Sarah learned all about the wine business. Tim improved the vineyard. Cardinal Point Vineyard was opened in 2002.

Their wines reflect their travels, a combination of German-styled whites, and French-inspired reds (for the most part). But nonetheless it was a serious, quality wine list. The winery won early praise [including a post of this venerable (read that as "this old blog")].

Just last year I got a chance to catch up with one of their more impressive offerings: Cardinal Point Clay Hill Cabernet Franc 2014. This is an estate red, 100% Cabernet Franc. Now, just so you understand, this wine was brought out after it had already won numerous kudos, including Winner: Gold Medal, 2016 Governor's cup competition; included in 2016 Governor's Case. Gold Medal/Best in Class, 2018 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. And it got an 87 in Wine Enthusiast! 

I cannot lie, I prefer Cab Francs tinged with something else. Sometimes, in lesser hands, Cab Francs can be incredibly vegetal. No worries here. The wine is a deep garnet color,, and the nose is all raspberry, cherry and plum. A stew of ripe red fruits, with hints of spice. There's also some barnyard to it, Not alot! Just a hint, that gives it earthiness and character in a very good way. Very Bordeaux in style. The smell of cobbler is also present. The wine has great mouthfeel, and solid body, when the fruit gives was to toast and vanilla, and then the cherry settles in with lovely acidity into the corners of the mouth. Really, really, lovely. A very special wine.

Great job to the folks at Cardinal Point!