Frank Family Vineyards was founded in 1992 but they operate out of the historic Larkmead Winery built in Calistoga in 1884. That was around the time that some of my ancestors were working and farming out in the the Golden State. My great-grandfather E.J. Langdon was part of that branch of the family tree, born at the turn of the century. I was honored to grow up knowing him and listening to his stories. He played ragtime piano songs well into his 80s, not because it had something of a minor resurgence, but because that was the popular music of his teenage years.
Unlike the classic tunes of Scott Joplin, these wines are of a much more recent vintage and are not yet available for purchase on the website.
2011 Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay
$35, 14.2% abv.
Medium acidity and all French oak barrels make for great balance. Dried apricot, white raisins, and a little hint of ginger come through on this wine. Medium body with a mild, lingering aftertaste. The oak gives just the slightest touches of toast and caramel, while the fruit never turns sour or too acidic as it reaches room temperature. For a distinguished Chardonnay like this, you're really going to want to serve it with something like guinea hen, pheasant, quail, or another mild game bird.
2010 Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel
Mostly Zinfandel with a splash of Petite Sirah
$37, 15% abv.
Deep aromas of cassis and blackberries, and not a hot aroma that you might think 15% alcohol would deliver. The tannins are still pretty young on this one and still dry out the palate a bit, but another two or three years of age will take care of that. Dark fruit and spicy finish that lasts a long time. I'm going to continue the wild game thing and suggest serving this with wild boar or venison and a variety of roast vegetables like rutabagas, turnips, and parsnips. Wait until it's cold and have a earthy dinner to go along with the rich berry flavors of this wine.
Note: These wines were received as samples.