Deep ruby-black color; red cherry, raspberry, blackberry, brambly bush, pepper on the nose; plum, blackberry, blueberry, red cherry, raspberry, spice on the palate.
Dry; wonderfully plush, medium body with relaxed tannin and acidity (3.70 pH). While there is some brambly bush on the nose, this is elegant and has no rustic elements. Excellent, juicy fruit that cleverly avoids being jammy. Blend of 86% zinfandel and 14% petite sirah that comes from the Frank Family’s four vineyards with smattering from “highly regarded neighbors.” The petite sirah enhances the blueberry and plum elements and adds body to the zin. At 14.6% ABV, somewhat restrained for a ripe-fruit Napa zin, a wise choice that refrains from a hot finish and allows this to work more harmoniously with food.
Todd Graff is the winemaker. On the website he does the obligatory—but still true—homage to grape sourcing and picking at the precise time. Just about every winery proclaims this fundamental truth, even when not every one truly delivers. Frank Family consistently and truly delivers. The Family vineyards are near the shores of San Pablo Bay, which delivers the wind, night cooling, and fog essential to the magic of Napa and Carneros—and to high quality vineyards around the world. As Graff knows. After his UC-Davis education he worked at riesling vineyards in Germany’s Mosel, in sandy soils of St.-Émilion in France, in Australia’s Hunter Valley, and at Stag’s Leap in Napa. He says the favorite part of his day is walking the vineyards in the morning with his dog, Bristol. I would pick drinking the wine Graff produces over walking a dog, but that would be me.
Winery owners Rich and Leslie Frank are stories unto themselves. Rich is a major Hollywood player—former chairman of Walt Disney Television and Communications, president of Walt Disney Studios, head of syndication division of Buena Vista, led development of the Disney Channel, president of Paramount Television Group, a founder of the USA Network, president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Whew. Google “Rich H. Frank” if you want to know more. Leslie Frank is an Emmy-award-winning television news anchor and reporter, including nine years with KABC, the number one station in Los Angeles. Now, with that glitz, glamor, and power behind them, they focus on making major wine and spending time with their dog Magnum. At least, that is what their website claims. Dogs are the big focus amid all this? Focus groups must say this image plays well for sales.
The old joke in the wine industry is that to make a small fortune in the wine industry you must start with a large one. I’m not sure that is going on here, or that it matters, but following stratospheric success in the entertainment and television business, these guys and dolls now make some excellent wine. Rock on. Enjoy your dogs.
Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel Napa Valley 2014 makes love to your palate with rich, plush fruit; expertly balanced and restrained alcohol, tannin, and acidity. Very, very easy drinker. Delicious and refined. Pair with almost anything in the meat isle, from barbecue pork ribs, leg of lamb, beef stew, Italian sausage, brisket, venison, spaghetti, lasagna, and other tomato-based Italian dishes, turkey, duck, chicken, seafood stews, seared and grilled fish, tuna, pizza, chili, aged cheddar and gouda, mild cheddar, smoked Swiss, stilton. $32-37