Franciscan Oakville Winery has its roots deeply embedded in the soil of Napa Valley's Oakville District. The winery marked its Silver Anniversary in 1998, celebrating 25 years of ever-increasing quality and growing prestige. Located in the heart of the Oakville appellation, the Franciscan Oakville Winery vineyards are surrounded by equally illustrious neighbors, including Opus One, Beringer, Silver Oak and Groth. The stellar reputation achieved by wines from this area attests to the fact that Oakville's climate and soil produce grapes of exceptional quality. Franciscan Oakville Winery was founded in 1972 by a group of lawyers and doctors from San Francisco who were making their foray into the wine business. When this group declared bankruptcy just a few years later, Raymond Duncan and Justin Meyer, business and winemaking partners who also owned Silver Oak, bought Franciscan in 1975. At that time, the company owned nearly 300 acres in the Oakville District of Napa Valley and an equal amount of property in Sonoma County's Alexander Valley. In 1978, the Peter Eckes Company of Germany purchased the Franciscan Oakville Winery and brand. Duncan and Meyer retained a parcel of the original property for Silver Oak, and Justin Meyer stayed on as president of Franciscan. But Meyer's heart was in Silver Oak, and in the early '80s, the Eckes family began looking for a new president for Franciscan. During their search, they contacted Agustin Huneeus, a Chilean exile who had built Concha y Toro in his native country and was now an international marketing executive with Seagram. Their query: How do we get Franciscan back on track? In short order, they offered Huneeus a partnership; he accepted, becoming president in 1985. Looking back, Huneeus says the only reason he agreed to come on-board was the value of Franciscan's vineyards. As President, his first move was to begin making Franciscan wines using Franciscan grapes. "It's crazy, but the winery was buying lesser quality grapes for its own wines and selling off the superlative grapes growing in its own vineyards," he remembers. His second move was to create a separate brand in 1986 for the Alexander Valley estate - Estancia. "I believe fervently in the concept of terroir," he explains. "Wine is a statement of place. The fruit from Oakville is different from the fruit from the Alexander Valley, and those distinctions must be preserved and respected."
Franciscan Oakville Winery 2001 Cuvée Sauvage
Bright fruit intensity, lemon and pear flavors. Seductive, viscous mouthfeel with a long, rich finish.