As a winemaker my greatest satisfaction comes when I see a smile and hear the simple comment, "this is delicious." Zinfandel often evokes that reaction, and in many ways symbolizes what first attracted me to winemaking. I love the variety for its zesty flavors, unpretentious nature, and the fact that it is so uniquely American. Wine is a sensual experience, and my goal is to provide as much pleasure as I can, whatever the wine.
All the great wines I have ever enjoyed have several features in common --richness, complexity, harmony, and an invitation to come back for more and discover something new with each taste. I have a great respect for tradition, and I rely largely on intuition and feelings to guide my winemaking decisions. I try to intervene as little as possible in a wine's evolution.
I made my first Franus wine in 1987, a Zinfandel. I currently produce two Zinfandels, Brandlin Vineyard on Mount Veeder and Planchon Vineyard in Contra Costa County. In 2002, I will release two new vineyard-designated Zinfandels, Mead Ranch and Rancho Chimiles.
Since 1999 I have offered two Sauvignon Blancs, Stewart Vineyard from Cameros, and Farella-Park from the southeast corner of Napa Valley.
In 1992 I began to produce Cabernet Sauvignon. The majority of my 100% Cab comes from Rancho Chimiles and Hyde Vineyard. I will release my first Rancho Chimiles Cabernet later this year.
Distinctive wines can only come from outstanding fruit which is limited to certain unique sites and microclimates. Grapes from these sources do not require a lot of manipulation and have the greatest potential to produce the most exciting wines on the market today. I have the good fortune to work with some of the best growers anywhere who are pleased when their grapes do not disappear in massive blends.
My flagship Zinfandel is from a magnificent 75-year-old vineyard on Mount Veeder, the Brandlin Vineyard. The mountain location and age of vines combine to create powerful and flavorful wines. It is a privilege to work with such fruit.
I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in journalism. My increasing passion for wine led me to enroll in the viticulture and enology program at Cal State Fresno in 1978. I worked at Chalone, Veederhills Vineyard (Hess/William Hill) and Chateau St. Jean before going to Mount Veeder Winery in 1981 where I was winemaker until the end of 1992. At Mount Veeder I developed a great love for Zinfandel which the winery produced through 1982. Since Cabernet Sauvignon was my focus at Mount Veeder, it seemed like a natural addition in 1992. My love of Sauvignon Blanc caused me to round out the Franus portfolio in 1996 with a white wine.
Peter Franus Wine Company / P.O. Box 10575 / Napa, CA 94581 / Ph. 707-945-0542 / Fax 707-255-4149
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