A row of barrels in the Relic cave.

2017 The Prior Cabernet Franc

Truly a dark horse, The Prior always sneaks up on you with intensity, complexity and hidden power, which keeps the finish going on and on. Aromatic notes of black currant, graphite, pencil lead, purple fruits, blackberry, blueberry are deep and brooding, but expressive. The mouthfeel is powerful and sappy with the kind of linearity and richness that bodes well for the future graciousness of this wine, which also shows on the powerful, intense finish. The yields were incredibly low in 2017: a minuscule 58 cases produced from 2 barrels, both new French oak.

  • 82% Cabernet Franc, 16% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Franc from Frediani Vineyard on Pickett Road
  • 35 year-old vines planted in deep volcanic gravel
  • Merlot from Shifflett Ranch
  • Cabernet Sauvignon from Kenefick Ranch
  • Aged in 100% new French Darnajou and Bossuet barrels
  • 58 cases produced from 2 barrels

A hefty version, featuring waves of dark plum and fig reduction that rumble through, carried by singed alder, loam and tobacco notes. A hint of smoldering cast iron on the finish adds range and character, with enough energy and well-embedded acidity to keep this going. Best from 2022 through 2035.
James Molesworth
Wine Spectator Insider
July 29, 2020
A blend of 82% Cabernet Franc, 16% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon The Prior reveals a deep purple/ruby color to go with pretty, textbook Cabernet Franc notes of blue fruits, wild strawberries, spring flowers, orange blossom, and hints of tobacco. With beautiful elegance, ultra-fine tannins, notable balance, and a great finish, it's another beautiful, elegant wine from this estate.
Jeb Dunnuck
January 2020
The 2017 Cabernet Franc The Prior comes from the Frediani, Kenefick and Shifflett vineyards. It is made up of 82% Cabernet Franc, 16% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 22 months in 100% new French oak. Deep garnet-purple colored, it sings of floral notions—lilacs and lavender—over a core of red currant jelly, blackberry pie and wild blueberries, plus hints of pencil shavings and fragrant earth. Full-bodied, rich, spicy and well-supported in the mid-palate, the firmness of the texture comes through on the finish with a bit of chew and appealing freshness. 58 cases were made.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown
The Wine Advocate
October 2019