Inkblot by Michael David Winery, Cabernet Franc, Lodi, California.

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Grapes

Mainly Cabernet Franc, with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah blended in.

 

Facts

  • Have you ever been head-butted in the face by a wine? No? Pour yourself a glass of the Inkblot and you will be!
    The name should give you a not-so-subtle clue as to what the Michael~David winery are trying to achieve with this juice! With that said, Michael~David aren’t exactly known for their subtle style of winemaking anyway. The aim of the game here is to make a wine that is so dark and purple that you could stick an old-fashioned quill in it and sign your name….should you want to…
  • Michael David have actually been making their Inkblot line of wines since 2005, but it’s only recently that they’ve made them readily available to the public, albeit in limited quantities. 300-400 cases was the original level of production the Inkblot was set at and was allocated only to members of its wine club. Production has now been upped to 2,500 cases and for the first time is available in markets outside of California.
  • Only vines that are 25 years and older are used for the Inkblot. If you know anything about grapes you’ll know that the older the vines, the smaller the berries and therefore the higher the skin to juice ratio. This means a higher level of potential flavor and color extraction, and even though Cab Franc isn’t usually associated with wines of ultra-concentrated wines, that is exactly what we have here!
  • Michael and David Phillips are the gents behind the Michael David winery. As is the story with a great number of Lodi winemakers, farming has been in their blood for many generations, but it wasn’t always about the grapes. In the 1860’s, the majority of acreage on the Phillips’ farm was devoted to growing vegetables.
  • The story goes that during Prohibition (the illegal sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol from 1920-1933), the Phillips family planted and maintained a sizeable amount of wine grape vineyard acreage. Why would they do such a thing if winemaking was illegal? Well; whereas most of the wineries in California just called it quits, even though winemaking wasn’t allowed, what they could do (and what the Philips family did do) was sell their grapes along with written instructions on “how not to have these grapes turn into wine.” Genius!

Inkblot-Cabernet-Franc-Wine


Lodi-Wine-MapPlace (click map for larger view)

  • Wine production in the Lodi region of California is mainly focused towards reds, with around 70% of the vine acreage being dedicated to red grapes. Zin is king (the region has some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in CA) and Cab, Merlot, and Chardonnay (for the most part) makes up the rest of the vineyard acreage.
  • The climate in Lodi is very similar to that of the Mediterranean i.e. warm and dry with modest rainfall. For this reason, “subtlety” is not a word that is thrown around too much in the region, as the generally grapes ripen without much of a worry that they’re not going to get enough sunlight.
  • Lodi has been a major grape growing region since the 1850’s. Today, the area has 100,000 acres of wine grapes, farmed by more than 750 growers.
  • The Lodi appellation was only approved for AVA (American Viticulture Area) status in 1986.
  • The Lodi region accounts for 20% of California’s total wine grape production. To put this into perspective for you, that’s more than Sonoma and Napa combined!

Michael-David-Inkblot-Cabernet-Franc-Wine-Review

Taste

Dense and thick, the only way you see through this wine in the glass is if you’re wearing x-ray specs. The bell pepper and “green” flavors that you’ll usually find with Cabernet Franc were killed (without remorse) in a drive-by-shooting…by a purple and black car driven by blackcurrant, with very intense plums in the passenger seat. Thick raspberry jam, pencil lead and coconut husk were all in the backseat staying reasonably quiet. The Loire valley “style” (the original home of Cabernet Franc in France) is bound and gagged in the trunk. With all that said, the “ride” will still be fairly smooth if you give all those flavors time to breath. Still, you might want to keep a cellphone handy (with 9-1-1 already dialed) in-case this wine tries to beat you up! At 15.2% alcohol, it wouldn’t be that difficult…

 

Pairing

Pair as you would with an Aussie Shiraz, Californian Zin or other wine with a high ABV. Steak, burgers with mild BBQ sauce and maybe lamb chops. Lay-off the spice or your head will explode.

 

Price

$35 – Limited availability from MichaelDavidWinery.com and a few select restaurants/retailers around the U.S.

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