If you’ve ever been out to the Napa Valley, Frank Family Winery is a must stop. It’s right off of Larkmead Lane in Calistoga along the Napa River, with an elevated tasting room overlooking rolling acres of planted vineyards. Unlike some of the other over-the-top Napa stops, Frank Family chooses to focus on their wines rather than all the bells and whistles. Most of the people who work there have been there for ages.
One of those people is winemaker, Todd Graff, who for the last 18 years has run the wine program at Frank Family. Unlike most, Todd has been on both the winemaking and the vineyard management side– giving him a decisive advantage over most of his Napa neighbors. Todd joined FF after stints at Joseph Phelps, Schramsberg, Artesa and Stag’s Leap Cellars. It’s as impressive of a resume as a winemaker can have. But even with all his knowledge, he still treats every vintage like its his first– carefully surveying the land and following Mother Nature’s lead. His wines are consistently fantastic.
If you haven’t made it out there yet and are unlikely to do so anytime soon, you can still enjoy the fruits of Todd’s labor today at Nicholas Wines. With restaurants temporarily closed down nationwide, the opportunity presented itself for me to get my hands on five cases of the 2016 Frank Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you’re a big red drinker, this Cab has your name written all over it. It’s deep, dark (almost black) in color with bold, rich chocolatey notes, black cherry and vanilla all smoothly integrated together with a touch of oak on the finish. It’s no wonder steakhouses across the country jump on this wine without thinking twice– it’s the ideal partner for any piece of red meat, poultry or lamb chop.
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“Displays expressive notions of baked plums, warm cassis and licorice with hints of bay leaves and scorched earth. Medium-bodied, it fills the mouth with juicy black fruit and earthy sparks, finishing chewy.”