Gorgeous clear dark ruby out to minuscule pink edges. Buttery burnt rubber black walnut cake frosting runs a fierce gauntlet between chalky vanilla and peppery cellar floor. Nearly every time I review a Cab Franc, somebody asks if it is Bordeaux- or Loire-styled and I’m not sure my opinion would differ much WHICHEVER shape bottle it came in, as it courses a path quite overlapping of both soft-shouldered and tailored bottles. It’s just flat out GOOD wine: nuanced and round while edgily light and alive and vibrant, never getting ‘bogged down’.
Brander was one of the first wineries I discovered and fell in love with when I moved to the Central Coast 20 years ago. What impressed me the most then–and even more so today–is how they weren’t beating to the same drum most of the other area wineries were/are. First of all the focus was heavy on Bordeaux varieties (not to mention being the California GODFATHER of Sauvignon Blanc), but most importantly, the wines were tight and focused–*lean* even–never playing the cheap easy over-ripe card for near-term bling.
In the mouth, meaty and firm, with an ethereal delicateness–a thinness, even–mid-palate which keeps everything grounded and intelligent while not sacrificing lively young fruit. Tight as a drum, green bitter herb overwhelming the tannic finish. An absolutely STUNNING wine start-to-finish.
2012 THE BRANDER VINEYARD Cabernet Franc Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara Co 13.8