Veteran Virginia Vintner Gabriele Rausse’s winery is located in the heart of the Monticello American Viticultural Area, just south of Charlottesville, but he sourced his 2015 Cabernet Franc from across the Blue Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley. The 20 year-old Baer Ridge Vineyard, in Timberville, Rockingham County, is planted on a south-facing slope at an elevation of 1,300 feet, over well-drained soils steeped in limestone deposits. This is among the driest growing areas of Virginia in terms of annual rainfall, benefitting from a rain shadow cast by Appalachian Mountain ridges on both sides of the Valley, east and west. This is apple country in Virginia, and the vineyard is surrounded by commercial apple orchards.
Cabernet Franc is a popular and widely grown vitis vinifera variety in Virginia, and as crafted by Winemaker Tim Rausse, Gabriele’s son, this wine is how Virginia Cabernet Franc should be. It is subtly aromatic, with suggestions of mixed berry pie, toasted walnut, and lavender on the nose; and on the palate, flavors of dried cherry, tomato preserve, and roasted red bell pepper — all interwoven with notions of rhubarb, cinnamon, and dried herbs over a savory finish. The wine avoids the searing “green” herbaceousness that plagues many Virginia Cab Francs. It is dry, full-bodied, and rather meaty on the palate, with moderate acidity and approachable tannins. Oak adds a little spice to the wine; it aged for 12 months French oak barrels, 25% new. Drink now and over the next several years.
Recommended Food Pairings: This Cabernet Franc will serve as a versatile food wine. Serve it with medium-to-sharp cheeses; cured, roasted, and smoked meats; seared filet mignon; cassoulet; venison; and other such hearty fare.
13.6% ABV | $28 | 120 Cases Produced
Availability: Gabriele Rausse wines are produced in very limited quantities, but may be found in select locations throughout Virginia and in Washington, D.C. For more information on availability, visit them virtually at gabrieleraussewinery.com.
— Scott Hendley