California Wine Tasting at Engelmann Cellars, June 2021.
The Experience -
While I had the opportunity to taste couple more that listed here during my last visit here are some quick notes on 3 of the wines. Kylie the wine club manager was pouring on this hot Saturday afternoon. While I tend to lean a lot towards the red wines, a couple of white blends were very welcome in the heat of the afternoon. The first was Summer Quartet, a dry white blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, White Cab and Dry Muscat. Next was RS, another white blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, White Cabernet, and Sweet Muscat. Both wines were enjoyable and welcome considering how warm it was that day and the fact that tastings were all taking place outside. Summer Quartet, a dry white-blend that would pair well with fish and summer salads. RS being a sweet white would be great for a glass before or after a meal.
As I was enjoying the outing, I did get to try a couple of other red wines but noticed on the list of wines Platinum 2015 Cabernet Franc (Limited Inventory) – Rich, bold wine with notes of tobacco, black cherry and French Oak, said the wines discription – Retail $44 / Wine Club $38 (only a couple of cases left as of visit in June 2021). This wine lives up to the description that was given. It is in fact, rich and bold wine. There are hints or notes of tobacco, black cherry and a little toast that comes from the French Oak barrels this wine matured in. I have had the priveledge of being a judge for a Cab Franc competition a couple of years back. We went through approx. 40 Cab Franc (National Cab Franc Day) wines from all over the state of California. This 2015 missed on a few points that would have given it a silver or a Gold in that competition. However, it would have found itself being compared to at least another 39 wines. Again, as I mentioned this wine does live up to the what the winemaker promises. It is a solid wine and very enjoyable. I have included a little bit about Cabernet Franc, which just happens to be one of the parent grapes that brought the popular Cabernet Sauvignon on the scene.
Engelmann Cellars and some history of this Central Valley Winery –
Henry Engelmann (Great Grandfather) in 1900 was a German immigrant along with his wife Elizabeth that came to the United States. Henry and his family along with him took a long train ride from Ellis Island to Fresno, CA. The Engelmann’s settled in town and in the early 1900’s they purchased a small Ranch west of the City of Fresno. This ranch is where the Engelman history of grape growing began as he and Elizabeth added several sons and daughters to his family.
Phillip Engelman (Grandfather)
Phillip was part of the first generation to be born in the United States, born on the ranch he was taught early how to care for crops and grow grapes as well as raise livestock. In 1932 Phillip and Rose Engelman purchased a 40-acre property where Engelmann Cellars is located to this day. Phillip, Rose and their two children Ilene and Norman planted primarily grapes for raisins, however, they did plant grapes to make wine for the family.
Norman Engelman (Father)
Norman was raised to much of the same values of this Father and Grandfather, to respect the land and strong work ethics. He grew up to marry his high school sweetheart Carolyn and went on to attend Fresno State University. While attending Fresno State he pursued a degree in viticulture. Norman was the third person to receive a Master’s Degree in Viticulture from Fresno State, was quickly offered a job in Napa Valley. Yet, Norman decided to stay in Fresno with the vision of expanding the family vineyards. Today, Norman is content with helping this two sons Eric Engelman who runs Engelman Vineyards, Inc., which cares for the farming and built LoMac Winery, and his son Bret Engelman who stated Engelmann Cellars in 2000.
Bret & Elainea Engelman (Owner/Winemaker/Graphic Artist)
After graduating from Fresno State in 1999 Bret founded Engelmann Cellars. It all started in an old raisin shed that was built on the 200-acre family vineyard and built by his grandfather. Today Bret and his wife Elainea who graduated from Cal Poly together have brought wine production up to 2000 cases a year. They have been successful in selling about 85% of the wines produced through members and people that visit the winery as well as online sales.
Cabernet Franc, about the grap, about the wine –
Cabernet Franc is a classic red, medium-bodied wine with moderate tannins. As to taste sensations a good Cab Franc can be defined by a balance between the red to dark fruits, herbs, and an earthy pepperiness. As to acidity, expect medium-to-high acidity that makes the wine refreshingly easy to drink.
Wines that are made of 100% Cabernet Franc are delicate, aromatic, and exhibit red fruit aromas of:
As to the savory character of the wines produced by this grape:
• Dried herbs
• Fresh bell pepper
• Roasted red pepper
• Fresh mint
• Pencil shavings
What Is the Difference Between Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon?
Cabernet franc is, with Sauvignon Blanc, one of the parent grapes of cabernet sauvignon. The cabernet franc grape has a thinner skin than cabernet sauvignon, so the wines made from cabernet franc tend to be lighter in color and lower in tannin. Cabernet franc ripens about one week before cabernet sauvignon. Cabernet franc can also ripen fully in slightly cooler climates than cabernet sauvignon. Cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon wines share red fruit aromas and herbaceous notes reminiscent of green bell pepper.
How Do you Pair Cabernet Franc Wine?
Cabernet franc’s mellow tannins and refreshing acidity make it a versatile partner to a wide variety of difficult-to-pair dishes, especially those prepared with fresh herbs:
• Roast game bird with rosemary
• Grilled vegetables like peppers, eggplant, or asparagus
• Italian tomato-based dishes including pizza