On a recent trip to Napa Valley, I took some time out of my day to visit Ovid, a gorgeous estate atop Pritchard Hill. The winery offers one of the more spectacular views I’ve come across in the valley—a panoramic swoop down the hill and across the whole valley, which when I arrived was entirely masked by fog and an hour later was crystal clear.
Given the overall quality of the wines coming off Pritchard Hill (it’s essentially the A-list address these days; Ovid’s neighbors include Colgin, Bryant Family, Continuum, and Brand), it’s no surprise that Ovid’s are extremely impressive, too. I was particularly taken with the 2013 Ovid Hexameter, whose rich blueberry and black cherry fruit had intriguing notes of toast, black tea and wild herbs—all of the latter not surprising, given that the wine is nearly 65 percent Cabernet Franc.
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Cabernet Franc gets little attention in California. Its herbal fragrance can head a little too easily towards the green, vegetal notes that California winemakers typically abhor. But made well it can be a wonderful everyday wine, a touch lighter and crisper than Cabernet Sauvignon; and made brilliantly, as with Hexameter, layered, complex, and able to age for years.