Peter Franus Red Hills Red
Twelve years ago, well before many were seriously considering the potential of Lake County, one of Peter´s best growers, Jim Fore, took a gamble and purchased property on the top of Cobb Mountain. The vineyard site is located a few miles east of Sonoma County and a dozen miles north of Napa Valley's Calistoga.
This is a spectacular property, situated at 3000 feet elevation. Soils are thin in the Red Hills and drain instantly. The elevation places vines well above the hot summer heat trapped in the valleys below, and aligns them in the path of cool westerly Pacific breezes. At the same time, there is paradoxically greater solar intensity that has some magical and perhaps inexplicable effect on the grapes. Because of the high elevation, the differential between day and night time temperatures is dramatic. This results in grapes with intense flavor and color development.
As for Peter´s 2011 Rhône blend—this wine represents a bit of a turning point. It is a little less dense and brooding than previous vintages with heightened liveliness and vibrancy. Some whole clusters added to the fermenter and increased percentages of Grenache and Mourvedre have resulted in more exotic aromas and flavors with more approachable tannins. Still dark ruby and youthful, anise, smoked ham, black cherry and rose petal aromas draw you in. Flavors reflect the nose, expanding and lingering beautifully on the palate.