Hello friends. Today marks a special occasion: the first time we’ve been able to offer Rich Funk’s varietal bottling of Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Franc. Inventory restraints have always stood in the way of offering this wine, so when we tasted the 2014 vintage in early January and found out there might be enough, we purchased every bottle outright. Honestly, this parcel is barely large enough to warrant an offer, but we couldn’t pass on it, especially at today’s tag, well off this wine’s $30 release and a good ways below the internet low of $25.89. It’s just so hard to turn down compelling Washington Cab Franc—which can be so damn good when made the right way.
2014 Saviah Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley
And oh boy, does Rich Funk know the right way to make Washington Cabernet Franc. It all starts with sourcing from a few fascinating, unusual Walla Walla Valley vineyards. So many times when we see WWV Bordeaux varieties they comes from either the king (Pepper Bridge Vineyard) or the queen (Seven Hills Vineyard). There’s nothing wrong with those two vineyards. In fact, they’re among the standard-bearers for the valley. But… it’s a big valley, full of micro-terroirs, and those of us who care about such things get a little extra intellectual jolt from tasting other sites.
All of the Cabernet Franc used here comes from three vineyards: Watermill, Dugger Creek, and Summit View. The first is located in the Rocks—an AVA that’s as buzzy as it gets when it comes to Syrah and other Rhone grapes. We’re seeing increased production of Bordeaux grapes from the Rocks, which is exciting for said people who care about such things. Summit View is part of the Sevein project, the vineyard development of a 2700-acre property long coveted by valley growers/winemakers for its high elevation (900’-1500’) and fractured basalt soil. Both the Rocks and Sevein contribute fascinating savories and minerals to the wines produced.
This wine—100% Cab Franc—is aged for 17 months in 25% new French oak before bottling. It opens with honest Washington Cabernet Franc typicity—that thoughtful blend of generous fruit, purple flowers, and signature green poblano notes, all wrapped in judicious wood. On the palate, juicy berries, anise-spice, herbaceous subtleties, and mocha are all prominently featured along a 14.3% alcohol frame. Fine-grained tannins and bright acidity balance the breadth and depth of flavors Rich has crafted here, and this bottle finishes full of savory spice and earth. The next time you want to reach for a Cabernet at the dinner table, replace it with this bottle. It would do wonders with all types of red meat, eggplant parmesan, or an herb-filled beluga lentil salad.