Napa’s Cabernet Franc Champions
When Wine Spectator called the 2013 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc California North Coast a “Smart Buy,” it qualified as a major understatement. Nobody is wiser about Napa Cabernet Franc than John and Tracey Skupny, who’ve championed this Loire-Valley and Bordeaux variety for more than two decades. Lang & Reed has landed on the wine lists at Mustards and The French Laundry, but remarkably, they’ve resisted the high prices their reputation and praise could command. If you’re lucky enough to dine at the Laundry, you’ll find an old, rare Lang & Reed for $325 a bottle. Come to the delightful Mustards restaurant on St Helena Highway and you can enjoy a glass of this “dense and aromatic” 2013 Cabernet Franc from Robert Parker’s “greatest vintage in 37 years”. If you lock into a case today — as we’d highly recommend — you’ll pay just $19.99 per bottle.
The soundtrack for the moment when John Skupny decided to pursue a viticultural career was Steely Dan’s “Aja” — specifically the third spin of the album, during one endless night of waiting tables. His pretzel logic worked — he moved to Napa and got to work under Chuck Wagner, Bernard Portet, and Dan Duckhorn. As he honed his craft, John and Tracey felt the pull of the mystique of the Loire Valley’s great Cabernet Francs.
The Skupnys fully surrendered to Cabernet Franc’s siren song in 1993, launching Lang & Reed to pursue a Bordeaux expression on Napa soil. Their fealty to Cabernet Franc earned the respect of Food & Wine Magazine, which reasoned that the winery’s pursuit “would get them points for tenacity even if they weren’t also making really good wine.”
The 2013 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc North Coast highlights John’s commitment to creating “true to type” excellence. Featuring fruit culled from top vineyards in Alexander Valley, Dry Creek, Russian River Valley, Lake County and Napa Valley, this is a bold, rich, and exuberant red not typically accustomed to the Napa spotlight. It’s an essential bottle for any oenophile — especially at this value. The San Francisco Chronicle hails Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc as a “wonderful food wine,” and we agree. Happy pairing!