Napa Valley, California
Cabernet franc is one of the parents of cabernet sauvignon, and was involved in the development of merlot. Along with petit verdot and malbec, those grapes are the basis of almost all great red wines from Bordeaux. The American wine industry was built primarily around those three grapes, and though lighter in pigment, cabernet franc provides structure. Jonas Cellars' Zach Long, who crafts The Aerialist, used all Napa cabernet franc grapes, blending 60 percent from Mount Veeder in the Mayacamas Mountains and 40 percent from Calistoga. Both areas have been producing wines since the early 1860s. In the cellar, wine lots were fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged 22 months. The wine offers the aroma of violets and its flavor is highlighted by raspberry, black currants and red and black cherries. Firm but fine-grained tannins impart a velvety texture and there's good acidity. Decant 30 minutes before serving. Drink it with herb-crusted rack of lamb, beef, pork, game, fowl, roasted vegetables, ravioli and tomato-based dishes. Buy it at: Spirit Wine and Grande Krewe Fine Wine & Spirits. Drink it at: Irene's Cuisine, GW Fins and Muriel's Jackson Square.