2019 Stonebreaker Cabernet Franc
92 pts, James Suckling | 95 pts, Wine Enthusiast
Aiming to have all the five Bordeaux varietals planted, Ames Morison allotted only a few acres to Cabernet Franc, waiting to see how this intense varietal did at Bell Mountain. Since we first began harvesting the fruit, we’ve been blown away by its power and concentration which is softened by lush fruit qualities. When the 2019 Kincade Fire burned through Bell Mountain, we lost some of our Cabernet Franc, but the grapes harvested before the fire came were dense and juicy—just what we want from Cabernet Franc.
We continue to be amazed at how Bell Mountain has rejuvenated and healed itself in the wake of devastation and are dedicating our first Cabernet Franc to the resilient wildflowers that grow here. Stonebreaker is the literal translation of Saxifrage, a native wildflower that blooms each spring at Bell Mountain. Its forceful name belies the delicacy and beauty of the flower it represents, much like the wine that presents as bold but softens as it opens up.
The 2019 Stonebreaker fills the glass with aromas of blackberry jam, cranberry, and stewed red fruit. With the first sip, your palate is filled with these fruits along with savory cured meats and vanilla that ends with a long chocolate finish. Rich savory tannins are rounded out with palate-cleansing acidity, presenting a textured full-bodied wine.
2019 offered nearly ideal growing conditions. A warm spring with some later rainfall set us up for good early season growth, which was followed by a moderately warm summer that lasted well into October without any severe temperatures or untimely rainfall. These conditions allowed for a classic vintage.