2020 Stonebreaker Cabernet Franc
91 pts, Decanter
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 Vineyard. Since we first began harvesting the fruit, we’ve been blown away by its power and concentration that is softened by lush fruit qualities.
We continue to be amazed at how Bell Mountain has rejuvenated and healed itself in the wake of devastation and are dedicating our 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 2020 Stonebreaker Cabernet Franc is bursting with rich red raspberry leaf, dark red cherries, and currants. The palate is greeted with a powerful graphite earthiness that is supported by the intense mouthwatering acidity. Flavors of blue fruit, plum skins and sweet black pepper are finished with a deep sweet florality that lingers long after the final sip.
With half the average rainfall during the winter and spring, there was very minimal vegetative growth. Cooler spring temperatures and a spurt of heavy rain during flowering led to a very light crop. The combination of these both created concentration, depth, and substantial density in the fruit. Several short heat spikes and a smaller crop load created optimal conditions for early ripening. We were fortunate to pick everything early, escaping any smoke damage from the devastating wildfires throughout California.