Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Napa Valley
Cost: $48-51
S ometimes when bad things happen you just have to make the best of it.
I was making a pot of soup recently when the power went out. What would a week in Augusta be without at least a brief power interruption? Seems like it happens regularly.
I thought it would be the usual 20-30 minutes without power, so I went out and ran some errands. When I got back there still was no power and it was starting to get dark. I was getting hungry.
The soup had continued to cook a little because it was still warm when I returned but I could tell it had a ways to go. I wanted to finish the soup instead of going out to eat. So I used the burner on my grill, just as I did when we had the ice storm last year.
I’ve always used a charcoal grill, but I have enjoyed the convenience of gas grills when I have been with friends. So when I bought a new grill I bought one that had charcoal on one side and gas on the other. It also had a small gas burner that is perfect for small pots.
So I took half of my soup, put it in a small pan and continued cooking on the burner. I also boiled some water to make noodles to go with the soup. It didn’t take long and I had my soup.
While the soup was cooking I thought about what to drink with it. Teri was out of town, so I could drink anything I wanted. I figured it needed to be something special because of the unusual circumstances.
Frank Family 2012 Cab.
Frank Family 2012 Cab.

The Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon looked like a perfect choice. It was.
It is a deep purple color in the glass, with powerful aromas of cocoa, blackberries and vanilla. The palate explodes with complex flavors, including cherries, blackberries and figs. For such a young Cab the tannins were surprisingly velvety and polished.
The finish was long and lingering, with a nice grip.
The 2012 vintage was a great one in Napa Valley, and this wine is a perfect example. The wine is fresh and exuberant, but with a lot of power. This may be one of the best Frank Family Cabs I have had, and I’ve been loving their wine for 20 years.
The blend is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc, all from the Napa Valley. The wine spends 20 months in 33% new and 67% once and twice-filled French oak barrels.
As with all Frank Family Cabs, this wine packs a punch. It should continue to get better in the bottle for another 5-6 years, and be at or near its peak for at least 10 years. If you love Cabs, it will be hard to find one better than this.
Winery: The story of Frank Family Vineyards is almost like a Hollywood movie, which is appropriate because founder Rich Frank was a Disney executive in Los Angeles when he got interested in wine.
He started visiting the Napa Valley on weekends in the 1980s before buying the historic Larkmead Winery, which opened in 1884. He bought the winery with Koerner Rombauer in 1992 and bought out Rombauer in 2007. The stone building from the original winery is on the Registry of National Historic Places, and is now used for parties and receptions.
All the winemaking facilities are state of the art. The winery also has one of the best tasting rooms in the state. The staff keeps it loose and fun, but they also teach you about wine. The tasting room moved from a ramshackle old metal building to a beautiful 1930 Craftsman home a few years ago. There are several different rooms to use depending on the type of tasting you want.
The winery also is a fun place to have a picnic. I have been there many times, and have always had fun. When people ask for a recommendation of where to go for a wine country visit, this is my first recommendation.
Superb winemaker Todd Graff makes a range of varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese and some incredible sparkling wines. The wines are made from 450 acres the family owns on parcels scattered throughout Napa Valley.
Frank Family has continued to grow, gaining fans all over the world. Their latest expansion is in the Far East: China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Rich Frank now also runs his own entertainment company, Prospect Park, which develops television projects.
Frank Family has just received Napa Green certifications for both its vineyards and its winery in the Napa Green Certified Winery and Napa Green Certified Land programs. The program is designed to conserve and improve the quality of the environment through vineyard-specific programs. Certification also means the winery has minimized energy and water use, waste and pollution.
The San Francisco City Voter poll also picked Frank Family as the best Napa winery for the sixth straight year.
Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon with vegetable beef soup.
Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon with vegetable beef soup.

Goes with: I drank this wine with one of my favorite soups, vegetable beef. It was a great match.
This is a hearty soup, full of rich flavors, so it needed a big wine to stand up to those flavors. All the fresh fruit and powerful tannins were perfect for the soup. I’d take a couple of spoonfuls of soup then a sip of wine, then more soup, then more wine. I couldn’t decide which was better, but together they made for a great meal.
The Frank Family Cab will pair with any kind of meat on the grill, a hearty stew, strong cheeses, or just sipping with some nuts and snacks.
I make the soup by boiling beef shank and stew beef, or some lean cut of beef cut up in small chunks. I usually skim off the foam that floats on top of the water. Then I add more beef broth and cut up pieces of potato, onion, leek, carrots, celery and parsnip. I add a couple of large cans of diced tomatoes and chopped parsley. Sometimes I add okra or corn stripped from the cob. Add salt, pepper and Morton’s Natures Seasons, let it cook for a couple of hours and you have a great soup. I usually serve it over noodles.
So there I was with my favorite soup, one of my favorite wines and no power. Instead of eating in the dark, I dug out four large candles and lit them. I played some nice music on my phone and had a romantic, candlelight dinner. Well, it was as romantic as a one-person dinner can be. I would rather have had Teri there, but like I said, when bad things happen, sometimes all you can do is make the best of it.
If this is the worst thing that happens to me this month, it will be a great month.
A romantic dinner for one.
A romantic dinner for one.

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