A row of barrels in the Relic cave.

2012 The Prior Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is one of our most cherished grapes. When done successfully, Cab Franc has the ability to satisfy the palate with rich waves of deep fruit, while also providing thrilling aromatics and complexity. This profile has always been our goal, and in 2012, we feel we have come as close as ever. Aromas of black fruits, cherry coulis, cocoa, white pepper and scorched earth rise from the glass, leading to a palate with intensely rich flavors, framed by ultra-fine tannins. The finish is a whiplash of flavor featuring a dynamic interplay of structure, fruit and earth components.

  • 78% Cabernet Franc, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot
  • Cabernet Franc from the distinguished sites of Stagecoach and Frediani Vineyards
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot from Stagecoach Vineyard
  • Aged in 100% new French Oak for 21 months
  • 375 cases produced from 15 barrels

An absolutely profound wine is the 2012 Cabernet Franc The Prior. I don’t know what source Mike Hirby used for his Cabernet Franc, but this is a killer example of this varietal, which can do wonders in selected micro-climates in Napa. Forest floor, blueberry, black raspberry and acacia flowers all swirl from the glass in the complex aromatics offered up. It’s lovely texture, which is full-bodied, but light on its feet has produced a rather sublime example of Cabernet Franc that is supple, round, beautifully textured and quite pure with a positive finish. Drink it over the next decade.
Robert Parker
The Wine Advocate #215
October 2014
Bright, dark red. Spicy aromas of blackberry, black cherry, graphite and cocoa. Primary and fresh in the mouth, with cassis, blueberry, licorice and sweet oak flavors lifted by a floral topnote. Finishes with strong but ripe tannins. Mike Hirby has only racked this wine twice to this point as he likes to preserve "the real character of the site" (in this case, 75% of the cabernet franc is from Stagecoach Vineyard).
Stephen Tanzer
Vinous Media
May/June 2014