Father to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, 3rd wine of Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc has arrived!
Centered in one of the hottest vineyards in British Columbia, Vanessa Vineyard Cabernet Franc vines are ideally located to make the most of all that sun.
Growing Cabernet Franc is not easy. Most viticulturists will tell you it is one of the harder varietals to grow successfully. It’s an extremely vigorous grape that wants to run away on you if you are not paying attention.
Rocky soil is the perfect balance for an energetic vine. To produce high quality grapes, the vines must first be tamed. Vanessa Vineyard’s location offers some unique advantages in this regard. The rocky soil helps to control the vines natural instincts to grow and strikes a perfect balance that creates a more concentrated grape.
Mature vines + lots of heat = Opportunity!
2015 marks the first year that Vanessa Vineyard produced a single varietal Cabernet Franc. This is a creation that is the result of tremendous faith and passion. Just a couple of bins came from the first crop in 2008, but the potential was clear from the first barrel. The wine was sublime, and Master Winemaker Howard could not wait to share the results with Proprietors Suki and John.
We have reached the culmination of all of that work. Eight years have passed and the vines have settled down and matured. The sun and rocks have done their job well and surrendered their future to the winemaker’s skill.
After 20 months in the barrel, the results for this 2015 vintage are outstanding. Big fruit, big body and generous flavour characterize this premier vintage.
Cabernet Franc Quick Facts:
Vanessa Vineyard Firsts:
A single barrel of Cabernet Franc was one of the first single varietal wines made from Vanessa Vineyard grapes at Sandhill as a test of the vineyard’s grapes capabilities by Howard Soon. Now Vanessa Vineyard has released it’s inaugural 2015 vintage.
Distinctive Shaped Leaf:
The Cabernet Franc leaf has a distinctive sawed tooth edge which looks like Rod Stewart’s hair.
Cabernet Franc is a wine that benefits tremendously from decanting. After 30 minutes, its natural spiciness will mellow into something softer and richer.
First Batch Planted:
Vanessa Vineyard Cabernet Franc vines were planted in 2006 with the first crop coming in 2008.
Cabernet Franc pairs well with a variety of foods due to its higher acidity. Pair it with roasted pork, lamb, and well herbed BBQ meats. It also goes well with rich cheeses, vegetables and fresh herbs.
Cabernet Franc is grown in many regions around the world. France is the largest, followed by Italy and the United States. Canada, Chile, Hungary and South Africa are some of the newer regions bringing outstanding examples to the market.
With only 220 cases produced, we hope you’ll enjoy this inaugural gem with family and friends. Learn more about the Wine Club here, or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.604.689.3882.
As we move past Thanksgiving, our team continues to be thankful for the recent awards that our current vintages have received:
Vanessa Vineyard Meritage 2013 and Syrah 2013 both won GOLD at the 2017 Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition. The 2017 Awards result page on their website states:
“The wines of British Columbia found an appreciative audience with the judging panel, which awarded 16 gold medals to Canadian entries, four of those being unanimous double golds. Perhaps even more impressive was that 11 of those gold medals went to work with red wines, including six focused on Bordeaux varieties. Howard Soon, one of Canada’s most respected winemakers, heads up Vannessa Vineyard Estate Winery in the cooler Similkameen Valley west of the Okanagan Valley. His 2013 Meritage and 2013 Syrah each merited a gold medal.”
In the wine industry, October is often referred to as “The Month of Merlot”.
We are also honoured that our 2014 Merlot continues to receive some stellar reviews:
Beppi Crosariol, lifestyle columnist for the Globe and Mail wrote: “The 2014 Merlot is a blend of 85 percent Merlot and 15 percent Cabernet Franc, with a smooth, luscious texture carrying flavours of ripe plum, currant jam, cocoa, tangy cedar and toasty oak. Well structured.” 90 points.
The Merlot accolades continued with John Schreiner: “This is the first single variety Merlot from Vanessa. The wine shows good concentration, with aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry and spice, all of which is echoed in the dried fruit flavours on the rich palate.” 92 points.
To view more of our awards and accolades, please visit our website here.
Vanessa Vineyard is proud to announce Howard Soon as our Master Winemaker. A pioneer in the BC wine industry, he has been awarded with innumerable accolades and established many firsts in the province, including the first to release a series of single vineyard designated wines.
“I’ve worked with Vanessa Vineyard grapes since its founding, and believe it is unlike any other vineyard due to the site’s unique topography, climatic conditions, and soil types – the perfect combination for making truly distinctive wine. When we first started getting fruit from Vanessa for Sandhill Wines we saw the potential, and when I tried our first vintage of Cabernet Franc I was blown away.” said Howard Soon, Master Winemaker. “I’m excited to go back to the workbench, it will be refreshing to be hands-on with these small productions. I believe this special terroir is the best site for growing premium reds in Canada.”
Vanessa Vineyard is situated high on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley with red grapes cultivated on sloping terrain. The vines grow in rows of rock, absorbing the day heat and imparting that warmth during the cooler nights, thus bestowing complex flavours and minerality that are truly distinctive. A burgeoning appellation, the Similkameen Valley is touted as “the next great Canadian wine region.”
Viticulturist Robert Goltz comments, “I’ve been planting vines in the Okanagan for over 40 years and in the Similkameen since the NAFTA grape pullout. From the start, we recognized the Vanessa site was ideal for premium reds, there is just so much sun exposure in the summer and the rocks were both a huge problem and an advantage.”
“Over the past decade we’ve worked closely with Howard. He helps growers and everyone else excel at their craft in the expertise he provides. He is unique among winemakers in giving us such incredibly detailed feedback on exactly what he’s looking for on the palate so that we can make changes in the vineyard to meet the precise flavour profile he’s trying to achieve in the fruit. Now that he’s with Vanessa, he will have even more freedom to continue this,” Goltz said.
“We aspire to produce the best red wines in the country and are proud to have a winemaker of Soon’s expertise on our journey. With this premier site and an extraordinary winemaking and viticulture team, we can craft profound wines that reflect this truly distinctive vineyard,” said Suki Sekhon, co-founder Vanessa Vineyard.
A living legend, for over three decades Howard Soon has been on the leading edge of winemaking innovation. Originally a brewmaster, a taste for more creativity saw him join the fledgling BC wine industry in 1980. Amongst numerous other milestones, Howard was the first winemaker in the province to receive a Gold Medal at the Chardonnay du Monde in France; release a series of single vineyard designated wines; and sweep the Canadian Wine Awards receiving Red Wine of the Year, White Wine of the Year and Winery of the Year — the only winery to ever win all three. Most recently, Soon was recognized at the 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival Celebrating Excellence Awards with the highly coveted Spirited Industry Professional. His collaborative relationships with growers led him to Vanessa Vineyard in 2006, where working with their viticulture team, he oversaw the planting of their vineyard. He subsequently purchased the vast majority of their grapes for his highly-acclaimed Sandhill Vanessa Vineyard wines. In 2017 Howard “retired” after 37 years with one of Canada’s largest wine companies to focus on truly small lot winemaking as Master Winemaker for Vanessa Vineyard.