- Along the lines of pairing cool climate grapes, I'm going to propose another location for Cabernet Franc: Santa Rita Hills. This is Chardonnay and Syrah heaven (sound familiar?) due to a very pronounced cool, coastal influence. Now, everything begins with Pinot and ends with Noir in Santa Rita Hills. But if Cab Franc were grown in an area with sufficient sun exposure and allowed to mature slowly during the growing season, perhaps the results would be compelling. The biggest problem with Cab Franc in the region is excessive alcohol, and reducing sugar accumulation with lower temperatures could be a good approach. It's no coincidence that some of the best local Cab Franc I've tasted has been from the similarly cool Los Alamos area adjacent to Santa Ynez and Santa Rita Hills.
- Which brings me to those chalky white hillsides in the Santa Rita Hills. These consist of diatomaceous earth. At first I wondered if this was related to limestone, but limestone is mostly Calcium Carbonate. Diatomaceous earth is made of tiny, prehistoric sea creatures that are chemically heavy on Silicon Dioxide. The best Cabernet Franc terroirs in the Loire are limestone based. But the same might be said of Pinot Noir vineyards in Burgundy. Perhaps silica-based soils are good for both? It's probably not a coincidence Chinon is nearly due west of Nuits-Saint-George. By this logic, indeed, someone should throw a few million dollars at a white hillside via a Cab Franc planting in Santa Rita Hills.
This is all speculation on my part, of course. I'm no geologist, nor am I am ampelographer or enologist. But I am a Cab Franc partisan.