To Be Quite Frank
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Frank Family Vineyards
Frank Family Vineyards is owned by longtime Disney executive Rich Frank and Connie Frank. The winery's limited-production, fruit-forward, yet balanced wines have a loyal following-due both to the popularity of Winemaker Todd Graff's "blockbuster" wines and the convivial tasting room.
The Franks opened a new tasting room in August 2008 housed in the original Craftsman home on the property. A bit more expansive than its predecessor, which was appreciated by many visitors for its no-frills feel, the new tasting room retains a warm feeling, and a no-tasting fee policy.
"Our goal was to give new life to this historic property while maintaining the rustic charm and rich heritage of this landmark winery," Rich Frank explains. Layers of paint and plaster were stripped from the original brick fireplace, which was then lovingly restored. The use of rich, warm wood and vintage paint colors captures the charm of the era in which the house was originally built.
In addition to the new tasting room, the remodeling of the winery, which included a new state-of-the-art small lot production red wine facility, was completed in time to allow Frank Family Vineyards to have its first crush at the winery for the 2008 harvest. The majestic property is home to the historic Larkmead Winery, which is the third oldest winery in the Napa Valley, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Frank Family Vineyards is well known for producing excellent Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The highly acclaimed Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Winston Hill Cabernet are made from select lots of fruit grown on Rich Frank's steep Rutherford hillside estate, the Winston Hill Vineyard. The SJ Vineyard, located in cool-climate Carneros, yields Frank Family's signature Chardonnay; and the Lewis Vineyard, which is located east of the Vaca Mountain range in Napa's Capell Valley, is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. These diverse vineyards allow Winemaker Todd Graff an unlimited amount of resources for crafting the fine wines of Frank Family Vineyards.
What to buy:
'05 Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Ripe blackberries, dried black cherries, toasted caramel, dark chocolate $85
'05 Winston Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Dried currants, wild morganberries, ripe cherries, Tahitian vanilla bean, cigar box $150
'98 Signature Champagne Roasted hazelnuts, toasted brioche, candied lemon rind, citrus-vanilla custard $65
1091 Larkmead Lane
Calistoga, CA 94515
Tasting Room Open Daily from 10-6
From Hwy 29 turn onto Larkmead Lane. Go about one mile to the winery.
Captions: 1. Owner Rich Frank proudly leans against the winery's historic landmark building. 2. The original Larkmead building is currently the site of special winery events. 3. Winemaker Todd Graff