Foggy Bottom by Easkoot Cellars "Willow Camp" Cabernet Franc 2017
Red Hills, California
So named for Captain Alfred Derby Easkoot, a 19th-century sea merchant and land surveyor in Marin County, Easkoot Cellars is an ultra-boutique winery focused on cool-climate sites around California – in Marin, of course, for their renowned Pinots, and for this lively expression of Cabernet Franc from the Red Hills region in Lake County.
Now Lake County is not typically associated with high-toned, low-abv wines; indeed pick a random wine from this appellation and it will likely be full-throttled, ripe, over-extracted, and brimming with overt oak. Not here – Easkoot aims for a “Loire-Valley” style of Cabernet Franc, whose focus is more on delicate aromatics and bright plummy flavors.
Find a bouquet of damson plum and wild cherries, with hints of graphite and green peppercorns with a pleasingly velvety palate rich with raspberries, lilac, and hints of dusty earth from the volcanic “Konocti-Benridge” volcanic soils found in this pocket of Lake County.
This wine is so much fun! 13.5 abv and light on its feet, aromatic with burnished licorice, plum and raspberry. Incredibly rare to find such a medium-bodied red from the Red Hills.
The Red Hills appellation of Lake County is found on the southwest perimeter of Clear Lake, about three hours north of San Francisco. Nearby Mount Konocti, a dormant volcano, deposited its volcanic soils here over millennia, as recently as 11,000 years ago. Those soils, combined with high elevation, make the region ideally suited for grapes such as this. In Easkoot Cellars’ talented hands, they coax a truly old-world influence out of this unique region and craft an unforgettable Cab Franc.