Inspired by the world’s finest Cabernet Franc and passionate about its home in the Napa Valley, Winemaker John Skupny raises the bar with his exclusive Monograph Collection. Every so often, among all the wines resting in the cellar, there is one barrel or one tiny lot of Cabernet Franc that sings out as something quite stunning, almost magical, setting it apart from all the others. Wines in the Monograph Collection have a story to tell, one that is theirs and theirs alone.
John Skupny experienced déjà vu while walking a vineyard high above Kelseyville in early summer of 2005. He had this strange sense of being in the exact spot sometime before in my life. He was at the High Chaparral Vineyard checking to see if this was a possible source for the Lang & Reed North Coast Cabernet Franc. His experiences and conventional wisdom indicated that Lake County was a fabulous place to grow Sauvignon Blanc, therefore it would make sense that it had the potential to be a great spot for growing Cabernet Franc. However, something kept nagging him about this particular place… was it the red dirt? Was it the gently sloping plateau? Or was it the grower’s weathered-patina and erasable nature? He rounded the end row and came across the sign and instantly knew that I had walked this same vineyard sometime in 1982, over twenty years beforehand.
Fast-Forward to find out that this Cabernet Franc vineyard had been planted in 1977 to an unknown field cutting and was bare rooted, meaning not grafted or, as the French in the Loire Valley say, a ‘Franc de Pied’ (Foot of Franc). We harvested grapes from this vineyard from 2005 to 2010, and, during that time, it was an important component in the Lang & Reed North Coast Cabernet Franc bottling. Two barrels were held-back from the blend in 2010 and bottled to create this unique and not-forgotten déjà vu wine. Sadly, this vineyard eventually succumbed to the ravages of phyloxera, so this two barrel lot remains a testament to a very pure expression of Cabernet Franc!